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Saturday, February 4, 2023

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How to prepare for the upcoming arctic blast


Students should start preparing for the upcoming winter

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

An arctic blast is expected to descend on Houston and the surrounding area on Thursday, bringing with it some of the coldest weather since the 2021 winter storm.

Though officials are hesitant to give exact estimates,  according to KHOU, temperatures will plummet by as much as 20 degrees in one hour when the cold front arrives. Conditions are expected to persist through the weekend, with temperatures lingering around the high teens and low twenties. 

For those spending the holidays in the Houston area, preparation can be essential leading into this weekend. This article will provide a few last-minute steps you can take to keep your holidays festive, not freezing. 

Shop now, not later

This applies both to essentials and any gifts you still need to purchase. With temperatures falling below freezing, you’ll want to spend as little time on the roads as possible. 

If blackouts occur, many may find themselves in a situation where they do not have access to potable water or basic necessities. Purchasing items like bottled water, pre-prepared food and toiletries ensure you have a backup plan in case of another grid failure

If you live in an apartment complex, consider buying more than you need. This is especially important if you live in an area with seniors or individuals with disabilities, as your over-preparedness could be their lifeline. 

Invest in an auxiliary power/heat source

Though most students likely aren’t in the position to buy something as expensive as a generator, cheaper options do exist. 

Battery-powered heaters can be purchased on Amazon for under $10, and portable power sources can be bought for around $50-70. In addition, it’s recommended students buy a mobile phone charger to ensure they can remain in contact with friends and loved ones during the cold front. 

Money can be tight around the holiday season, so if the above options are out of your price range, investing in something as simple as hand warmers and additional coats and blankets can go a long way. Resale shops can have affordable deals on clothing and covers. 

Make sure to leave your taps on when the arctic blast hits

An estimated 16 percent of Texans experienced some sort of damage to their plumbing systems due to last year’s freeze. The issues primarily arose from standing water in pipes freezing and expanding, causing pipes to burst.

Avoiding what could very well amount to thousands of dollars in plumbing damage can be as simple as leaving your taps running when the arctic blast arrives. To reduce waste, turn your faucets on so they only produce a trickle. 

See to your pet’s needs

In times like this, it can be easy to forget that our furry friends suffer from cold just as much as we do. While certain breeds of dogs, such as Huskies, are right at home in cold weather, other pets may need additional care this weekend. 

Specialty clothing exists, like sweaters for cats and even lizards, but heated blankets and sun lamps can provide the same level of protection at a reduced cost. Ultimately, your pet’s needs will vary depending on the species and breed of the animal. 

Remember to remain calm

If disaster does strike, remember to do your best to stay as level-headed as possible. Despite inclement weather, emergency services can still assist you if you need it. 

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