Here's how Houston leaders say they're preparing roads and the airport system ahead of hard freezes

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Friday, January 12, 2024
How city is prepping roads and airport ahead of hard freezes
Ahead of an arctic freeze arriving early next week, the Houston airport system and TxDOT are among those sharing their plans for the blast of extremely cold air.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Ahead of an arctic freeze arriving early next week, the Houston Airport System and TxDOT are among those sharing their plans for the blast of extremely cold air.

Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports now have heavy machinery, including snowplows, to treat and clear runways and taxiways to help avoid impacts on travelers.

Watch Eyewitness News on our 24/7 channel for live coverage and updates all weekend long and through the duration of this freeze in the video player above.

The machinery is stored, maintained, and in position at both airports, according to information shared with ABC13 on Friday.

The airport system said that its equipment can spray, spread and sweep a deicing treatment on taxiways and runways.

But homeowners aren't the only ones who have to think about protecting pipes.

Houston Airport System added that it's also wrapping exposed piping and protecting water sources that service the planes.

Some of the preparations are now in place following the 2021 winter storm, which forced multi-day closures of the airfields at Bush and Hobby.

It's not just those flying and working the friendly skies who are getting ready, though.

TxDOT said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that its crews are pre-treating some bridges and overpasses. They're also focusing on elevated structures such as connector ramps.

At this time, the agency isn't treating main lanes or surface streets

Officials said during an update with Houston Mayor John Whitmire on Friday that TranStar would be monitoring for potential icing on the roads.

"All hands are on deck," Whitmire said.

If you do see a problem, you're urged to contact law enforcement or you can reach out to TxDOT at 713-802-5000, Danny Perez with the department said.

Drivers should also keep an eye on conditions to know if it's even safe to travel, and if it's not, stay off the roads. Lanes may remain open, though, to ensure that first responders can still move through to help people or bring in supplies, if necessary.

Harris County Precinct 3 also shared photos of its crews treating roads and wrapping pipes in the area.

Residents should know that all Precinct 3 parks and community centers will have limited access to water amenities, drinking fountains, and restrooms, for example, starting Friday through Wednesday.

ABC13's meteorologists have declared Monday and Tuesday Weather Alert Days due to the possibility of freezing rain and a long-duration hard freeze.

As of Friday afternoon, the arctic cold front was still set to arrive on Sunday before sunrise for most.

Monday carries the possibility of freezing rain, and Tuesday is an ABC13 Weather Alert Day because of the potential for frozen roadways and pipe-bursting cold.

Another hard freeze is likely on Wednesday.

Warming centers will be open within the city starting Monday night.

Lastly, remember that you don't want to use your oven or stove to heat your home. That can lead to the release of carbon monoxide, a colorless odorless gas that at high levels can be fatal.

But even moderate levels of carbon monoxide can make you sick.

The most common symptoms are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion, the CDC says, adding that people who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.