Cold weather supplies selling out around Houston before arctic front

Pooja Lodhia Image
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Cold weather supplies selling out around Houston before arctic front
Many Houstonians are traumatized from Texas' 2021 freeze and question the state's ability to supply enough energy ahead of this weekend, even though ERCOT insists they're prepared.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you haven't started preparing for this week's forecasted arctic front, you're not out of time yet - but you better hurry.

Cold weather supplies at multiple Houston-area hardware stores have already sold out.

"Everybody remembers the great polar express of two years ago, so that's made everybody very freeze-conscious, and so they're really looking for that sort of thing or anything else that we might have to wrap pipes with," Farrell Benson, a manager at Bering's Hardware, said.

Bering's is getting a new shipment Thursday morning.

But you might be able to use what you already have to wrap your pipes and plants.

"They can take towels or any kind of heavy cloth. They could even take foam insulation or something like that," Benson said. "Wrap that round and round exposed pipes and then finish that all off with duct tape. Duct tape is going to seal it and keep that warmth in and keep that moisture out."

We saw grocery stores busy with people buying bottled water and other nonperishable items.

At River Oaks Plant House, the phone has been ringing all weekend.

Those there recommend bringing in any plants you can and covering the rest.

"Water them lightly. Don't drench them because if it gets really cold, those roots are going to freeze, so water them maybe on Wednesday heavily so that by Thursday, they have enough moisture to go through the weekend. Don't wait until the last minute to water them," Edwardo Ramirez, a River Oaks Plant House manager, said.

As for the electric grid, ERCOT officials say they don't anticipate outages as of now.

But if you do lose power, don't try to heat your home yourself.

"All of the patients that I saw in the emergency department during the last freeze, none of them were brought in because they were too cold. All of them were brought in because they had carbon monoxide poisoning," Dr. Hilary Fairbrother, a UT Houston Memorial Hermann Emergency Medicine physician, explained. "During the freeze, we saw people bringing grills inside. We saw people using their stoves or oven to heat their houses or even building fires inside. All these things will quickly raise the level of carbon monoxide in your home, poison you, and potentially kill you."

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