Houston, Feb 14 (PTI) Houston and most of Texas is bracing for a historic Arctic blast expected to dump inches of snow, cripple life, glaze roadways in ice and send temperatures plummeting to near-record lows.
A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for parts of southeast Texas from 9 pm Saturday until 6 pm Monday. Sporadic power outages will be a possibility. Pipes and sprinkler systems may burst if not properly cared for in advance, officials have said.
Temperatures will remain stuck in the 30s all weekend, before the winter storm and arctic air blow on Sunday night and Monday morning.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings or watches for most of the state. Wintry weather may begin in some locations very early Sunday morning.
The Houston region has not experienced such cold, arctic conditions for more than three decades. Houston's all-time record low temperature of five degrees Celsius was recorded in 1930, according to Space City Weather.
Most businesses, educational institutions will be shut down Monday and Tuesday, anticipating winter freeze.
Hospitals have rescheduled appointments and elective surgeries.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration in all 254 counties in response to severe winter weather that is impacting Texas.
The governor is continuing to deploy state resources available to assist local officials in their response efforts. The Texas State Operations Center (SOC) has been ordered to operate for 24 hours a day through the end of next week.
In a press conference Saturday, Abbott warned Texas residents of what the frigid temperatures could bring for those who don't prepare now.
He said that the state of Texas is simply not prepared to face the effects of freezing rain and that even the most experienced drivers may face difficulties on the road.
'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. Our emergency response to this winter weather requires a collective approach between state agencies, local officials, and Texans throughout our communities to ensure the safety and security of the Lone Star State.
'Texas should heed the guidance of their local leaders and stay alert to changing weather conditions in their area,' said Governor Abbott.
'These resources will help us respond to this severe winter weather and keep our communities safe. The State of Texas remains in close contact with officials on the ground and will provide any additional resources and support that are needed,” he said. 'Starting Sunday evening, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asks everyone to stay off the roads. If you need to go to the grocery store, do it today. All of the chores you need to handle, do it today or tomorrow during the day,' he said. SHK TIR TIR