Hard freeze headed to Round Rock: What you need to know
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Watch and Hard Freeze Watch for Williamson County starting Thursday, Dec. 22 While there is no risk of precipitation in the forecast at this time, the City of Round Rock is cautioning residents to prepare for freezing temperatures.
The arctic airmass is expected to arrive mid-day Thursday and has the potential to bring gusty winds, temperatures in the low teens, and wind chills below zero degrees to Central Texas. Conditions are expected to last up to 48 hours in the Austin metro area.
Staff are working to ensure the City’s water supply is prepared and full, and that generators and on-call staff are in place to maintain core City services in case of an emergency, if needed. While the City generally does not preemptively open public warming centers ahead of a cold front, Emergency Management has an emergency plan in place should a large-scale power outage occur.
Right now is the time to take action in preparation for this weather event. Below are some simple tips to keep you and your family safe:
People, Pets and Plants
Cold wind chills can easily result in hypothermia if precautions are not taken. Symptoms include shivering, exhaustion and confusion. If you are experiencing symptoms, dial 9-1-1.
All pets and plants should be brought inside. If a pet must be left outside, they should be provided with an enclosed shelter with an entrance facing away from any wind.
Never operate generators and other fuel-powered devices inside a home or an enclosed space, such as a garage. Unsafe practices could result in a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide fumes. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If anyone in your home experiences these symptoms, step outdoors, ventilate the area and dial 9-1-1.
Heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires. Keep generators outside, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm and keep heat sources three feet away from anything that can burn. Plug only one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time. Never use an oven or gas stovetop to heat your home, and if you smell gas, leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1 followed by the Atmos Energy emergency number at 866-322-8667.
If you or anyone you know need some assistance during times of an emergency event, please register them, or yourself, on the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry.
Pipes in and around your home are most at risk when temperatures drop below freezing and stay below freezing for a prolonged period of time. In central Texas, this most often occurs in the overnight and early morning hours, but pipes are also at risk during days when temperatures remain below freezing.
Allow water to drip from faucets — especially those facing exterior walls — and open cabinet doors to plumbing. Cover outside faucets with insulation covers.
In the case of a broken pipe in your home, you can shut your water off at the meter by turning the homeowner’s cutoff valve located just above your meter box. It’s a round tube with a metal or green plastic lid (in the attached image here, the water meter has the black lid, and the homeowner cutoff “box” is open). If you haven’t seen this box before, it may be buried under the grass or dirt. If circumstances allow, Round Rock water customers can also call 512-218-5555 and a City crewmember will assist at no cost to you.
Report power outages to Oncor at stormcenter.oncor.com or by sending the text message ‘out’ to 66267 (ONCOR).
While no widespread power outages are expected at this time, the City of Round Rock does have an emergency plan in place should a large-scale power outage occur. The City does not generally open warming centers proactively in advance of cold weather events; anyone experiencing hypothermia should call 9-1-1.
To stay up to date in case of an emergency, sign up for alerts at warncentraltexas.org. You can also check the City’s website at roundrocktexas.gov for updates.
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Source: City of Round Rock