How to prepare for a Central Texas freeze warning

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According to the National Weather Service, precautions should be taken to protect “pets, plants and pipes” as well as people when a freeze warning is issued in the area. Freeze warning are issued by the National Weather Service Austin when weather is expected to bring sub-freezing temperatures to the area.

Much of Central Texas and the Austin area is anticipating its first freeze of the season tonight, with a freeze warning in effect from 8 p.m. Monday until Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Overnight low temperatures are expected to dip to about 32 degrees.

Here is what residents should know about taking precautions during a freeze:

Pets

Pets should be brought indoors before temperatures drop to 32 degrees and livestock should be sheltered if possible. Texas state law prohibits pet owners from leaving animals restrained outdoors when weather conditions are below 32 degrees and between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Plants

Freezes can kill crops and sensitive vegetation, according to the NWS. Plants, gardens and flowerbeds should be covered to trap heat energy from the ground. Potted plants should be brought indoors. If relocation is not possible, wrapping pots with towels may help prevent roots from freezing.

Pipes

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, pipes susceptible to freezing should be insulated by being wrapped in newspaper or another insulating material. Faucets should also be left on at a drip overnight to prevent freezing.

Residents should also disconnect garden hoses, drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets if possible.

Water inside unprotected pipes can freeze and cause a pipe to burst. Be sure to know how to shut off water if this were to occur.

People

The NWS recommends people dress in layers during freeze warnings. Warm hats and gloves are recommended, and a wind-resistant outer layer should be used when wind chills are present.

Freezes can also create ice on area roads, especially in the early hours of the morning. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, motorists should be aware of road conditions, especially on bridges and overpasses, which are more susceptible to freezing.

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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.
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