On February 11, 2021, the day winter storm Uri caught every Texan by surprise when it dropped high record amounts of precipitation on Texas which was the worst that they have seen for over 4 decades, with the freezing temperatures and extreme weather affecting all 254 counties in the state. Millions of Texans lost all power. Snow and ice combined with record-low temperatures caused massive road closures, unsafe travel conditions, and even the death of 246 people according to DSHS, leaving much of Texas to suffer in darkness and extreme cold.
Now that the winter season is coming, a lot of Texans are asking, will a storm like Uri will hit us again? What is our winter season going to look like this year?
According to scientists, another cold snap like Uri that swept through Texas last winter is unlikely and predicted a warmer-than-normal winter season for Texas this year due to ongoing dry La Niña year conditions, despite the fact that last winter was also a La Niña year. So, this event is not impossible to happen, so better be prepared just in case something like this happens again.
What’s the Cause of Extreme Weather Conditions and their Sudden Change?
Climate Change. Soaring global average temperatures have been linked to widespread sudden changes in weather patterns. According to scientific studies, extreme weather events and abrupt changes such as heat waves and huge and powerful storms, which are both occurring around the world today, are likely to become more common, frequent, and more intense as a result of human-caused climate change.
People tend to think that “Climate Change” is huge and there’s no way we can do something to fight it. But according to scientists, the key to fighting climate change is in our hands. Everyone in the world must participate in changing small things in their lives. How can you do it? When do you begin? You can start with these 8 impactful actions to fight Climate Change.
- Save energy at home
- Walk, bike, or take public transportation
- Lessen the food you throw away
- Reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle
- Opt for a clean energy source
- Switch to an electric vehicle
- Plant trees and grow your own food
- Speak up about climate change
Climate change won’t be gone in a snap and while we do our parts to fight it, what are the things that you can do to prepare for any weather-specific events that may happen in no time?
Preparing for Winter Weather Events
Winter weather is extremely unpredictable. So, keeping warm and safe throughout extremely cold weather or winter storms can be difficult. Winter storms can bring freezing temperatures, power outages, communication outages, and slippery roads. You should know and be able to prepare yourself, your home, and your car well before the winter storm strikes to keep everyone safe. Here are things that you can do before, during, and after winter weather events.
Before Winter Weather
Make a family communication and disaster plan
Plan ahead of time to be ready for a winter storm. If you live in a winter-prone area, make a communication and disaster plan for your family well in advance.
Weatherproof your house
Call an expert contractor to inspect your roof and every aspect of your home and repair it if needed every year before it begins to snow. This practice can protect you from power losses and enable you to save money on your utility bills. Furthermore, roof leaks can lead to water damage that destroys the integrity and appearance of your property. You can safeguard your property from further damage by hiring a roofing contractor.
Take an inventory of supplies and make emergency kits
The most serious concerns about winter weather conditions are the loss of power, phone service, heat, and a lack of supplies if storms are severe or last more than a day. Make a list of your emergency supplies to ensure you have everything you’ll need to survive for approximately three to five days.
Bring your pets indoors
During winter, farm animals and pets need more care. Bring them inside and take extra precautions to protect your animals’ well-being by giving them plenty of fresh water and food, as well as proper shelter.
Listen or watch the news often
Regularly check weather forecasts. Although we cannot always predict extreme cold ahead of time, weather reports can sometimes provide you with a few days’ notice to plan and be prepared.
During Winter Weather
- During the storm, stay indoors.
- Carefully walk on icy or snowy paths.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling, this can result in a heart attack, a leading cause of death during winter.
- Keep dry. To avoid losing body heat, change damp clothes regularly.
- Keep an eye out for signs of frostbite. These symptoms include numbness and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as the fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. Seek medical attention right away if symptoms occur.
- Watch out for indications of hypothermia. Uncontrollable shivering, incoherence, slurred speech, disorientation, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion are some of the symptoms. If hypothermia symptoms are encountered, transfer the person to a warm location, remove damp clothes, warm the center of the body first, and provide warm, non-alcoholic drinks if the person is unconscious.
- Only drive if deemed needed. If you must drive, inform someone of your destination, route, and estimated arrival time. Travel during the day; don’t travel solo, stick to main roads and avoid back roads.
- Remove any layers or insulation from the pipes and wrap them in rags if they freeze. Open all faucets entirely and pour hot water over the pipes, beginning in the area that’s most exposed to the cold.
- Keep ventilation when using kerosene heating systems to avoid dangerous fume accumulation. Kerosene heaters should be refueled outside, at least 3 feet away from flammable items.
- If necessary, save fuel by maintaining your home colder than usual. Momentarily turn off the heat in some rooms.
After Winter Weather
Get a head start in clearing snow
If it’s safe and warm enough to go outside, you should clear the snow around your house and vehicles quickly. Because fresh snow is easier and lighter to shovel or blow than snow that has settled and become compacted.
Check for any signs of damage
If the weather has calmed down, it’s time to look for the damages it has caused. It could be your roof, the inside of your home, such as your pipes, or any other part of your property. It’s best to contact a professional to inspect and repair any damages. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are important to be checked as it’s essential, especially if you don’t have a power supply and must use a space heater, fireplace, or generator to keep you warm. Hiring a professional contractor will ensure that your home is safe to be in.
Whether there is a winter storm or just a regular winter season, it’s always best to be prepared for anything that may come our way. There’s no harm in knowing what’s to come, why it’s happening, and what you can do to be prepared and make things better in the future.