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Advice and questions answered about how to deal with cold weather

Posted at 2:26 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 15:27:42-05

Here are some of the pressing questions people have with the cold weather having arrived in the Coastal Bend, and advice from the experts.

ERCOT readiness

Many Texans remain on edge following last February's Big Freeze that left millions across the state without power for days.

The outage is blamed for hundreds of deaths, including two in the Coastal Bend.

While it's not expected to be as cold as last year, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also known as ERCOT, said electricity demand could be near record levels.

The highest period of demand on the state's power grid is expected to be Friday morning, but those in charge said they're ready.

Generators

If there is a power outage, many people switch to a small generator; but, you need to be careful operating them at home.

Generators release a high level of carbon monoxide.

Corpus Christi Fire Marshal Randy Paige tells us that deadly gas can build up quickly in your home if you run your generator inside. Also, unless your home has a carbon monoxide detector, you wouldn't even know if the gas was around until you start feeling sick.

Paige also said a generator should always be outside and at least 10 feet away from doors and windows.

"You don't smell carbon monoxide,” he said. “You don't taste it. You don't know it's there. You don't see it. It's known as ‘The Silent Killer.’ What we see is people go to sleep at night, and they don't wake up the next morning."

If you need help getting and installing a carbon monoxide detector, call the Corpus Christi Fire Department at (361) 826-3900.

Avoiding frozen pipes

Winter weather can also damage your home, especially here in the South.

The Texas Department of Insurance has these tips:

  • know your insurance coverages, because some home and renter policies don't cover water damage caused by burst pipes.
  • protect those pipes. They recommend opening cabinets under the kitchen sink to let your home's heat warm them.
  • wrapping pipes also helps, in both outdoor and unheated indoor areas.
  • if you leave your home before a freeze, turn off the water at the shutoff valve and leave your heat on. 

Area shelters

Several shelters across the city will open to provide a warm place and meal for those who need it, and those who don't have a home need a way out of the cold.

"They need to have a place to get a warm meal and to be warm, and people living on the streets may have blankets, but still they are subjected to very hazardous living," said the Salvation Army’s Russell Czajkowski.

The Mother Teresa Shelter will be open, as well as the Salvation Army, starting at 4 p.m.

For a full list of shelters, head to our KRIS 6 News Weather blog here.

Warming centers

The city of Corpus Christi has set up warming centers to help those who need a place to get out of the cold.

See the full list here.