A cloudy and dreary Saturday grew colder throughout the day, thanks to an arctic front that promises to plunge the Dallas-Fort Worth area into a deep freeze.
The cold air and biting north winds prompted Sundance Square officials to cancel their outdoor New Year’s Eve concert and celebration scheduled for Sunday night in Sundance Square Plaza. Other indoor events in downtown Fort Worth will go on as planned, according to a post on the Sundance Square Facebook page.
Anyone else planning to celebrate outdoors should follow Sundance Square’s lead.
Temperatures will drop to below freezing overnight, with an expected low of 30 degrees Sunday morning. But by midnight New Year’s Eve, temperatures should be in the 20s with wind chills in the teens, said Patricia Sanchez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth.
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“It’s going to be very cold,” Sanchez said. “If people are going to be outside, they’ll need to bundle up.”
Freezing drizzle and possibly very light snow could arrive early Sunday, which could leave bridges, ramps and overpasses a little slick.
Texas Department of Transportation crews have been pre-treating potential problem areas since Wednesday, said spokeswoman Natalie Galindo.
She said the brine that has been applied to roadways lasts between seven and 10 days and that crews will be working 12-hour shifts beginning late Saturday, checking overpasses and bridges for ice and treating them as needed.
Monday morning’s low should be 16 and forecasts call for the same low when folks return to work on Tuesday morning, followed by 17 on Wednesday. Temperatures should climb to above freezing Wednesday afternoon.
The cold, hard facts
Keep pipes from bursting
David Crow, general manager of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Arlington, has this advice for homeowners:
“Crank up the heat inside the home and open the cabinet doors so the heat can circulate in there,” Crow said. “And it’s always a good idea to turn on the water to a faucet in the house to keep the water circulating.”
Outside, unhook outdoor water hoses from faucets and wrap those faucets with store-bought covers or do it yourself with foam, rags or other material and secure it with string or tape.
After the freeze passes, if a leak is detected, turn off the water and contact a plumber.
Staying warm inside
Never turn on ovens and leave the door open for heat.
Electric space heaters are considered safer than portable heaters that are fueled by natural gas, propane or kerosene.
Keep space heaters at least 36 inches away from any combustible material.
If using a fuel-fired portable heater inside, leave a window partially open to allow fresh air into the house. It’s also smart to have a carbon monoxide monitor.
If you’re out and about
Make sure your car is in good shape before heading out. Windshield wipers should be fresh. Tires should have plenty of tread and your battery should be lively. Carry extra coats, gloves, boots and a candle if case you get stranded.
Be extra careful when driving on bridges, overpasses, ramps and shaded areas — all of which tend to freeze first.
If your vehicle begins to slide, slow down — without braking — and steer into the direction of the skid.
Don’t tailgate. Instead of allowing three to four seconds of distance between you and the car ahead, make it eight to 10 seconds.
About those plants
Potted plants and flowers should be brought inside.
Use mulch and frost cloths or plant blankets to cover flower beds and vegetable gardens.
Sources: Star-Telegram research, AAA, Insurance Council of Texas, Texas Department of Transportation