It’s Texas, so it could snow four inches today. Or it could snow no inches. Or it could snow three feet. But there are a few things you should probably know about today.
Stay home because reasons
Everyone agrees we’re getting something, and that it will be super cold today and tomorrow. So stay home.
Gov. Abbott held a press conference Saturday to brief reporters on the winter weather – which is blanketing pretty much the entire state. He said he would request an emergency declaration from the White House.
“Every part of the state will face freezing conditions over the coming days, and I urge all Texans to remain vigilant against the extremely harsh weather that is coming,” said Abbott. “Stay off the roads, take conscious steps to conserve energy, and avoid dangerous practices like bringing generators indoors or heating homes with ovens or stovetops.”
Abbott said that power companies have crews in place, and power crews from other states have been deployed to help with any power outages. The Texas Railroad Commission has suspended regulations to ensure churches, hospitals, residences, and other human resource facilities have access to gas.
Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd also warned the public about the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning associated with using ovens, stovetops, and grills to heat their homes.
If you have to get out on the roads and get stuck or need assistance, call 800-525-5555 for roadside assistance. The Texas Department of Public Safety has activated over 3,000 troopers statewide to help respond to incidents as well.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began pre-treating roads earlier this week, and will continue to treat roads through this week.
But stay home in the dark
Demand on the power grid is apparently going to be high because everyone will be home and trying to stay warm and entertained, so officials are warning that we might want to unplug the toaster, turn out some lights, turn down the thermostat, and put on a sweater.
“This statewide weather system is expected to bring Texas the coldest weather we’ve experienced in decades,” said Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) president and CEO Bill Magness. “With temperatures rapidly declining, we are already seeing high electric use and anticipating record-breaking demand in the ERCOT region.”
You can get a heads up on how close we are to the danger zone by following ERCOT on Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO) and/or by downloading the ERCOT mobile app available on Google Play and in the Apple Store.
“Based on the current load forecast, and if temperatures continue to decline, ERCOT could set a new all-time winter peak demand record Monday morning, Feb. 15,” ERCOT said in a statement. “The current winter peak demand record is 65,915 MW set on Jan. 17, 2018 between 7 and 8 a.m.”
Nearly everything you’d want to do is closing or will be closing early. As we mentioned Friday, the Nasher, the Dallas Zoo, and the Dallas Museum of Art have all announced closures. The Perot Museum has also announced it would be closed Sunday, as did Texas Discovery Gardens and the Dallas Arboretum.
Central Market also said it will close early during the worst of the weather. Dallas stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.
“As we monitor the winter weather, we’re adjusting store hours to make sure our Partners (employees) and customers get home safely,” said Mabrie Jackson, director of public affairs, Central Market/H-E-B. “We plan to close early on Sunday, Feb. 14 and Monday, Feb. 15 and will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Due to road conditions, truck deliveries are currently delayed. We’re doing our best to keep stores as stocked as possible. Over the next few days, you will see limited time slots available for Curbside and Delivery orders. We will do our best to fulfill orders currently submitted and will contact customers if your order is impacted. As the weather progresses, please check centralmarket.com for the latest updates and store hours.”
Cafe Brazil announced that its University Park location would close at 2 p.m. Sunday and remain closed through at least Monday, with tentative plans to reopen at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
North Haven Gardens also announced it would be closed Sunday and Monday. Bird Bakery said it would be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and from 11 a.m. to “closing time TBD” on Monday.
Interabang Books said it would close today. “We will be assessing the situation and will send out an update about tomorrow if need be,” they added.
If you’re supposed to fly out today or tomorrow, you uh, may want to check before you head to the airport.