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Preparing for a winter freeze

Written By: Vicki Powers, UT Physicians | Updated: January 12, 2024
woman wears hat and scarf for cold weather

Cold snaps in Houston are not common, so it's important to prepare your home and family.

The anticipated temperatures early next week forecast a hard freeze for the Greater Houston area, including a chance of precipitation and light icing on the roads. To get ready for the colder weather, review these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Prepare your home and loved ones

Cold weather events are rare in our area, but it’s critical to be prepared and keep safety in mind as the weather approaches.

Set your home to a temperature that is comfortable for members in your household. If using a fireplace, ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly. For those using a space heater, make sure it is placed away from anything flammable and out of reach of children. Space heater units with safety features, such as automatic shutoffs if tipped over, are also strongly recommended.

Cover or insulate exposed pipes, including those in the attic or under the house. Covered pipes are less likely to freeze. Learn how to shut off water valves.

Check in with your elderly family and neighbors to make sure they are prepared and have proper heat in their homes.

Think of your four-legged friends, too. Pets should be brought indoors or provided adequate, warm shelter with access to fresh water and food.

Bring in potted plants before the cold weather arrives or cover them with a blanket or tarp to help retain some of the heat. Mulch in flower beds and around trees can provide an insulated blanket over the roots.

Stay informed

With the chance for light precipitation in freezing temperatures, monitor local forecasts and follow Houston TranStar and DriveTexas to get up-to-date travel conditions. Take extra road precautions if you must venture out. Tune in to local news stations, their websites, or social media channels frequently for weather updates.

For additional information on what to do before, during, and after a winter weather event, review the CDC’s winter storm page.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.