The National Weather Service (NWS) Austin-San Antonio reports the coldest air since 1989 arrives by Sunday night, Feb. 14. Wind chills may be below 0 for a few by sunset and bottom out between 0 and -15 degrees area wide. Here are recommendations for dealing with extended sub-freezing temperatures.
Protect water pipes
The City of Round Rock encourages residents to protect pipes during freezing weather.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Let faucets drip inside your house, especially the faucets located near exterior walls.
If you have a swimming pool, keep the pool pump running continuously.
The City strongly recommends residents and businesses turn off their irrigation/sprinkler systems to avoid damage and freezing due to the cold temperatures. Runoff from sprinklers causes hazardous conditions on roadways.
If a resident experiences broken pipe, the City recommends turning off water flow into the home at the shut-off valve located by their meter. Then call a plumber to make the repair on private property.
If assistance is needed to get water shut off to their house, residents can call the Utility Department at 512-218-5555 and we will send a crew member to help.
Reduce electricity use
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use as much as possible for the duration of this winter weather event.
Here are some tips to reduce electricity use:
- Turn down thermostats to 68-degrees.
- Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
- Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).
- Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
- Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
You can access power outage information from Oncor. The City does not operate an electric or gas utility.
Stay off roads
Residents are urged to stay home due to hazardous road conditions, particularly on elevated roadways and bridges. If you must drive, please drive with extreme caution, slow down and leave plenty of room between yourself and other vehicles. City crews have been pretreating bridges and certain roadways for ice as conditions allow.
Update: Many traffic signals are not operational due to electricity loss across the City. Motorists should treat those intersections as four-way stops.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 15-17, Capital Metro suspended all services due to inclement weather.
FEMA has a great deal of information here on preparedness for freezing weather. In addition to pipes, protect pets and plants. The City also recommends going to WarnCentralTexas.org to sign-up for emergency alerts if you have not already done so.