Most of North Texas may have dodged an ice storm, but escaping the bitter cold is another story.
Some parts of the area could get cold enough early Wednesday morning to see pipes burst from the frigid temperatures.
“We are actually concerned about that — even in parts of the Metroplex,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Lamont Bain. “We could see temperatures drop to near 10 degrees and even lower in some of the more outlying areas.”
In Fort Worth, forecasters are predicting a low around 12 degrees but, in parts of Parker County, the temperature is expected to reach 7 degrees and could drop to 6 degrees in Denton.
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Dropping into single digits is often a key threshold for pipes, said Mike Joyner of Joyner Plumbing in Fort Worth.
“I don’t think we’ll see any problems in the city, but in those outlying areas where it drops into single digits and there really aren’t any codes on insulating pipes, you could see problems,” Joyner said.
For most homes in the heart of the city, Joyner said covering outdoor faucets and opening cabinet doors to plumbing facing exposed walls will probably be enough.
“When it gets down around 12 or 10, we’ll see some icemaker lines in the attic freeze up or some faucets that were on a slow drip start running but that’s usually about it,” Joyner said.
Temperatures should creep above freezing Wednesday, then be followed by a rapid warmup the rest of the week with highs in the 60s by Saturday.
Cold weather tips
- Open your cabinet doors under your sink so heat can circulate.
- Turn on a faucet, just barely, in the house to keep the water circulating.
- Keep your pets inside.
- 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.
- Potted plants and flowers should be brought inside.
- Use mulch and frost cloths or plant blankets to cover flower beds and vegetable gardens.
- 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 drive
- If you’ve got to travel, like to work, make sure your vehicle is in good shape.
- 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 3-4 seconds of distance between you and the car ahead, make it 8-10 seconds.
- Our suggestion: The Trinity Railway Express commuter rail is a stress-free way to travel during icy conditions. Just make sure to dress warmly and wear shoes with good traction for your walk to and from the train station. For a schedule, go to www.trinityrailwayexpress.org