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Time is now to prepare for cold weather; NWS shares ice storm predictions

Local authorities are preparing for the upcoming cold snap that could bring a wintry mix of freezing rain and snow by early next week.

The city of Port Arthur is in the process of preparing for severe winter weather conditions according to forecasted weather reports.

In Groves, city manager D.E. Sosa said officials are monitoring the National Weather Service-Lake Charles but as on Friday afternoon, was uncertain of what to expect as the forecast has changed a lot in the past few days.

Some folks have harkened back to the 1997 ice storm that crippled Southeast Texas and a 2018 winter storm that flooded a 911 call center with at least 100 minor car crashes, and that was just in Beaumont.

Sosa plans to keep up with the NWS phone calls and updates in order to make decisions going forward.

Some issues they, and the rest of the area, may run into is water line breaks.

In addition, Monday is a federal holiday, President’s Day, so the regular Groves garbage pickup will be delayed.

The commercial trash pickup will also be delayed a day in Groves per Republic, the company hired for the job due to inclement weather.

“There is a possibility for water line breaks and if it is raining and freezing, falling limbs,” Sosa said. “We will prepare for the worst and monitor the situation. I will come in (Saturday) and listen to the (NWS) meeting and make decisions based on what they’re saying and do what is necessary to cover what may arise.”

Nederland officials are asking residents to prepare as well.

  • Disconnect outside water hoses. If water is left connected during freezing temperatures, the water in the hose may freeze and expand causing connected faucets and pipes to freeze and break.
  • Protect and insulate exposed pipes, faucets and exposed pipes in unheated areas.

Roadways

The Texas Department of Public Safety is urging Texans along the Gulf Coast region to prepare for severe winter weather.

Dangerous winter weather can come in the form of freezing precipitation and ice, according to a news release from DPS. During icy conditions, roads, bridges and elevated structures will likely be impacted. DPS urges motorists to pay attention to quickly changing weather conditions and prepare for possible road and bridge closures.

For current road conditions, visit DriveTexas.org

Port Arthur officials offered the following home heating fire prevention tips

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from heat sources.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn off when leaving a room or sleeping.
  • Never plug a space heater into an extension cord.
  • Never use a cooking stove to heat your home or dry clothes.
  • Place heaters on level, flat surfaces on the ground.
  • Have a qualified service professional inspect your heating system annually.

Proper use of generators

  • Generators should be used in well-ventilated locations outside and away from all doors, windows and vent openings.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.
  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is hot.
  • Remember: When plugging in appliances make sure they are plugged directly to the generator or a heavy duty outside-rated extension cord. The cords should be checked for cuts, tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially the grounding pin.

Pets

Don’t forget the furry friends.

Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed.

In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death, according to the ASCPA.

Predictions

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Roger Erickson said the more significant winter problem is the ice storm expected Monday.

The highest risk area is central Louisiana, but east Texas, Southeast Texas, southwest Louisiana and south central Louisiana could also see significant problems, depending on where the heaviest icing sets up.

Here is the first forecast of ice accumulations across the region:

  • East Texas: 0.10″
  • Southeast Texas: 0.10″
  • Central Louisiana: 0.25″
  • Southwest Louisiana: 0.10″
  • South Central Louisiana: 0.10″

The worst case scenarios for the region are as follows:

  • East Texas: 0.50″
  • Southeast Texas: 0.25″
  • Central Louisiana: 0.50″
  • Southwest Louisiana: 0.50″
  • South Central Louisiana: 0.50″

Ice accumulations of 0.10″ means dangerous travel conditions.

Traveling is not recommended.

Isolated power outages due to tree branches and power lines will be possible.

Ice accumulations of 0.25″ means traveling will be nearly impossible. Widespread power outages due to falling tree branches and power lines can be expected.