Houstonians prepare for cold temperatures

December 7, 2011 4:30:38 AM PST
Yesterday was the coldest night the Houston area had seen since February, and some residents spent the evening getting ready for the potentially freezing temperatures.

It was the first freeze of the season in many areas, says Eyewitness News Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller. As the blanket of clouds slowly eroded over Houston, many inland neighborhoods will dropped into the upper 20s overnight.

"Temperatures will drop below freezing for four to eight hours in the city of Houston, while neighborhoods north and west of the city will be below freezing for eight to 10 hours," Heller said. "While this won't be a pipe-busting freeze, it will take its toll on tender tropical plants and other sensitive vegetation. Family pets should also be brought inside tonight."

Temperatures won't climb very high on Wednesday either, Heller said. With a northerly wind blowing, we'll only warm into the low 50s. And then drop below freezing again tonight.

The cold weather means winter is on the minds of many, so a lot of people and the city have been preparing for the temperature drop.

At one Bellaire grocery store last night, firewood was popular.

"I think it's wonderful; it's really bringing in the Christmas spirit," shopper Kim McConn said.

And the phones were ringing all day at one west Houston landscaping company.

"Firewood all day, every day," said Tania Gonzales with Embark Tree & Landscape Services.

Inside, the orders were piling up.

"Most places don't deliver the firewood. They have to come and pick it up, especially far like Sugar Land and Katy and Pearland and we do deliver all the way over there," Gonzales said.

Outside, the stacked up wood was ready for delivery.

"It's really amazing how many trees have died as a result of the drought," said Steve Navarro with Embark Tree & Landscape Services.

Piles of logs were waiting to be split.

"Couple of years ago we were running pretty low and maybe even ran out of wood. This year, as you can see, we have plenty of wood to make it through the entire winter," Navarro said.

At TxDOT, making it through the winter includes inspecting, calibrating and prepping equipment as the temperatures drop.

"We have gotten a lot of practice over these last couple of years. This year alone, we've had three events in January and February and those were back to back, so yes we've gotten a lot better at being prepared," said Karen Othon with TxDOT.

From the roadways to the parking lots Tuesday night, there was no precipitation, just people making preparations to stay warm.

"A bunch of firewood because I'm freezing, and my son is waiting at home and we're going to have a fire," McConn said.

On Wednesday, TxDOT is expected to get all of their vehicles ready for inspection.

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