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A sign warns tenants of freezing weather at Marquis at The Cascades in Tyler on Nov. 11, 2019. Below-freezing temps and sub-zero wind chill are forecast to arrive late Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. A NWS meteorologist says protection will be key through the weekend — protection for people, pets, pipes and plants.

From Staff Reports

An arctic blast of frigid temperatures and wind chills is projected for Tyler and the surrounding areas through Sunday.

This prolonged period of below-freezing temperatures can pose a hazard to property, people and pets.

City officials are monitoring the situation and strongly advise residents to watch the weather forecast, winterize their homes and safely use space heaters and generators.

Emergency service capabilities are at full strength, and city departments are in frequent communication with each other to ensure all necessary preparations are in place.

If you have an emergency, officials ask you to call 9-1-1, stay on the line and do not hang up until your call is answered. Answer all questions and follow instructions.

The Tyler Police Department’s non-emergency line, (903) 531-1000, should be used for all other calls and notifications, including traffic signal issues.

How do I get alerts about storm updates or emergency information?

The City of Tyler and Smith County have RAVE Alert, a free emergency alert system that you may sign up for through Smart911.

Signing up for alerts is easy. Follow the RAVE alert link and create your Smart911 with RAVE Alert account. You will then be able to select which alerts from the City of Tyler, Smith County, and surrounding areas you would like to receive.

Account users may sign up to receive email, notifications, and text message alerts. In addition, users may opt to provide additional information like medical conditions, pet information, house description and more. These details give first responders critical information on how to best respond to your family’s needs in an emergency. All information is secure and will not be shared publicly.

There is also an app available for download for both Apple and Android users.

Utilities/Water Pipes

All essential city services, including water and wastewater services, will continue to operate at full capacity.

Turn sprinkler systems off. Sprinkler systems left on when temperatures drop below freezing may cause sheets of ice to form in streets and on sidewalks. This can create hazardous driving conditions and dangerous walking conditions on both sidewalks and crosswalks.

Frigid temperatures can cause water lines to burst, leading to expensive plumbing repairs.

Remove hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outdoor faucets with a commercial Styrofoam cover, towels, rags or paper.

Know where the main water valve is located at your residence and how to turn it off.

Cover or insulate exposed pipes outside or in unheated areas of your home.

Let cold and hot water drip from faucets at a trickle.

Open kitchen and bathroom sink cabinet doors to circulate warmer air around plumbing.

The Tyler Building Department reminds residents to use only qualified registered plumbers to fix any broken pipe issues. Licensed plumbers are urged to make repairs needed to get customers’ plumbing back in operation and to contact the Permitting Office as soon as possible after offices open on Tuesday.

Space heaters

Space heaters are a convenient way to supplement the heat in your home during cold weather. Unfortunately, they can cause significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly.

Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Read the instructions and warning labels before using a space heater.

Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.

Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play too close to a space heater.

Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.

Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.

Never use a space heater to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.

Keep heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.

Place space heaters out of high-traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.

Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas, and test them once a month.

Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.

Generators

Generators can be helpful during a power outage. They also present safety and health concerns. Hazards of using a generator include carbon monoxide poisoning, fire and electrocution if not used properly.

Carbon monoxide from generators is entirely colorless and odorless. It could kill your family and your pets.

Never use a generator indoors or in partially enclosed spaces like homes, garages, and crawl spaces.

Place the generator at least 20 feet from the house with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.

Plug appliances directly into the generator. Use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.

Backfeeding is a dangerous practice and should not be done. Backfeeding means trying to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet.

Never overfill a generator with gas.

Never fill the generator while it’s running.

Clean any spilled gas and wait for it to dry up before powering your generator.

Never store gas canisters next to a generator.

Never smoke near a generator.

Keep the area surrounding your generator clear (the safety radius can be found in your user manual).

If you spot unusual amounts of smoke coming from your generator, call 9-1-1 immediately. We recommend keeping a fire extinguisher in your household. However, never use a water-based extinguisher, nor water alone, on your portable generator.

Dressing for the cold

Wear appropriate outdoor clothing like a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

Dress warmly before going outside and limit your exposure to the cold to prevent frostbite. Stay dry to prevent hypothermia. Hypothermia and frostbite are dangerous conditions that can happen when people are exposed to freezing temperatures.

Work slowly when doing outside chores.

Stay hydrated

Early signs of hypothermia include cold feet and hands, puffy or swollen face, pale skin, shivering (in some cases, the person with hypothermia does not shiver), slower than normal speech or slurring words, and acting sleepy, angry or confused.

Later signs of hypothermia include moving slowly, trouble walking, being clumsy, stiff and jerky arm or leg movements, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, and lacking or losing consciousness.

Call 9-1-1 if you think someone has warning signs of hypothermia.

Be a good neighbor

The City of Tyler reminds residents to be good neighbors, work together to take care of people in the community, and help each other. Connect with family members, friends, social groups, and work circles for assistance and support.

Check on elderly family members, neighbors, and friends. Older adults can lose body heat fast, and some illnesses may make it harder to stay warm.

Pets

Tyler Animal Control and Shelter reminds pet owners to bring their pets inside where it is warm or set up proper shelter for the animal.

Plants

Cover vulnerable plants and flowers with blankets or sheets.

Roads

Although snow is not predicted during this arctic blast, the National Weather Service has not ruled it out. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to motorists and pedestrians. Bridges and overpasses are particularly hazardous because they freeze before other surfaces.

Black Ice: Black ice is a deadly driving hazard defined as patchy ice on roadways or other transportation surfaces that cannot easily be seen. It is often clear (not white), with the black road surface visible underneath. It is most prevalent during the early morning hours, especially after snow melt on the roadways has a chance to refreeze overnight when the temperature drops below freezing. Black ice can also form when roadways are slick from rain and temperatures drop below freezing overnight.

Winter travel

Share your travel plans with friends or family and get the latest weather forecasts from the National Weather Service or a local radio or TV station.

Check your vehicle’s heater, defroster, brakes, brake fluid, ignition, emergency flashers, exhaust, oil, and battery before your departure.

Pack an emergency supply kit with blankets, winter clothes, hats, coats, gloves, mittens, extra food and water, jumper cables, ice scraper, shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, medications, road map, cell phone charger

Who to call for flooded streets, potholes, sinkholes, downed trees, stormwater/drainage issues

Residents can report flooded streets, potholes, sinkholes, downed trees, stormwater issues and drainage issues using the free “MyTyler” phone App or by calling the Streets Department at (903) 531-1393 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and the Tyler Police Department non-emergency number at (903) 531-1000 during non-business hours.

Reporting power outages, downed power lines

Contact Oncor at 1-888-313-4747 to report power outages and downed power lines.

Please be advised that damage to personal property during a winter weather event is usually the property owner’s responsibility.

 
 

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Managing Editor

Managing editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETX View Magazine. Alabama native and Troy University alumna who moved to East Texas in late 2020. Story ideas, questions, etc. always welcome at swood@tylerpaper.com or 903-237-7749.