HOUSTON - The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from late Thursday night through Friday afternoon.
The Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel across Southeast Texas.
The NWS says our area can expect accumulations from sleet or freezing rain of 0.05 to 0.15 inches. Portions of the watch may be upgraded to a warning on Thursday where areas may receive more than a eighth of an inch of ice accumulations.
The Harris County of Emergency Management reminds you that long periods of below-freezing temperatures present a danger to the Four P's: people, pets, pipes and plants.
HOW TO PROTECT PEOPLE
•Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
•If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.
•Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
Observe heater safety:
•Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
•Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
•Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
HOW TO PROTECT PETS
•Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
•Keep adequate food and water available.
HOW TO PROTECT PIPES
•Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.
•Wrap exposed faucets and pipes - including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.
HOW TO PROTECT PLANTS
•Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.
•For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says it will begin their de-icing operation Wednesday night, and they will be putting magnesium chloride on bridges.
TxDOT says motorists should use extreme caution and remember these safe driving tips:
•Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
•Maintain at least three times the normal following distance.
•Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
•If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you feel you have regained traction then straighten your vehicle.
The Texas Department of Public Safety released a list of emergency supplies drivers can keep in their vehicle:
•Blankets/sleeping bags and extra clothing, mittens and hat
•Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries
•First-aid kit and pocket knife
•High-calorie, nonperishable food, bottled water
•Sack of sand or cat litter for de-icing roadway
•Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and shovel
Stay tuned to Local 2 and Click2Houston.com for the latest forecast.
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