How to prepare for inclement winter weather in San Antonio this weekend
Well, the weather outside really is frightful this week, with a strong cold front forecasted to move through the San Antonio area. The arctic blast will bring the coldest temperatures we have seen this season, and temperatures are expected to drop below 20 degrees on Thursday night and Friday morning.
According to a release from the City of San Antonio, CPS Energy has strengthened the resiliency of is power plants against sustained freezing temperatures by implementing winterization initiatives. While ERCOT expects sufficient generation to meet forecasted demand, CPS Energy "urges energy conservation to help residents save money on their bills," the release says.
With that in mind, the city, county, and their partners strongly urge all residents to prepare for cold weather by remembering the Four Ps: People, Pets, Plants, and Pipes. Here's everything you need to know for those four concerns, provided by the City of San Antonio:
Keep warm and dress in layers. Check on family, friends, and neighbors who may be more vulnerable to this week’s cold weather or may not have access to housing and heating, including the elderly and those with special needs. The San Antonio Fire Department recommends the following:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Install and maintain CO (carbon monoxide) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Never use a generator indoors.
- Always plug portable heaters directly into a wall socket (no power strips).
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Never leave children unattended in a room with a space heater.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
311 Customer Service is open from 7 am to midnight on Thursday, December 22, and Friday, December 23. 311 will operate throughout the holidays from 8 am to 5 pm. Residents may call 311 (210-207-6000) or use the 311 SA mobile app.
Rental Property Tips
Landlords are obligated to maintain their rental properties to the minimum standards set by the San Antonio Property Maintenance Code (Sec 6-52). Heating equipment must be able to maintain a minimum inside temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (measured three feet above the floor). To report suspected violations, call 311.
The city and county will open seven warming centers to offer short-term emergency shelter starting December 22 at 3 pm:
- Normoyle Community Center — 700 Culberson Ave.
- South Side Lions Senior Center — 3303 Pecan Valley Dr.
- Garza Community Center — 1450 Mira Vista
- Christ the King Lutheran Church – 1129 Pat Booker Rd., Universal City
- Emergency Services District 5 – 7120 E. 6th S., Somerset
- Emergency Services District 3 – 23103 Bulverde Rd.
- Emergency Services District 7 – 11617 Galm Rd.
Anyone coming to the center should bring clothes, supplies, and medicine. Kennels will be available for pets at Normoyle, South Side Lions, and Garza centers. VIA passengers may travel fare-free to or from a warming center, and residents may also call 311 to request a trip to a warming center.
Last week, the city and its nonprofit partners began contacting unsheltered individuals to provide them with warm weather clothing, blankets, transportation, shelter, and meal information. Haven for Hope has expanded intake hours and emergency bed capacity, and Communities Under the Bridge will open for meals and shelter December 22-25. The Homeless Connections Hotline (210-207-1799) is available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm and will remain open until 8 pm on December 22 and 23.
Pets should be brought indoors and provided with a warm place to sleep. State law dictates dogs cannot be tethered with any size chain at any time; it also states dogs cannot be left outdoors restrained and unattended in the case of officially defined extreme weather or situations in which an animal is in severe distress including conditions in which the actual or effective outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Animal Care Officers will be on patrol through the rest of the week. Potential violators can face impoundment of their pet, fines up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail for repeat offenders. To report suspected violations, call 311.
Farm Animals and Livestock
Farm animals and livestock rely on their humans to protect them and keep them safe.
- Have adequate food and water. Animals and livestock should have plenty of food and a steady supply of water. During extremely cold temperatures, water will freeze. You will need to break up ice or replace the frozen water.
- Provide warm bedding. Make sure that there is adequate bedding for each animal.
- Add extra feed. Animals need to eat more in cold weather to provide extra calories for heat energy.
Plants may need to be covered or brought inside to avoid frost damage.
San Antonio Water System reminds residents:
- Allow one internal faucet to slowly drip to keep water moving in your pipes during coldest temperatures.
- If your home has plumbing in cabinets on outside walls without insulation, leave the cabinet doors open to allow warmer indoor air to circulate.
- Cover and insulate outdoor pipes. Local hardware stores have foam insulation and faucet protectors, but even wrapping pipes with rags or newspapers will do.
- Know where your meter cutoff valve is. If pipes freeze, SAWS has created a video on how to turn off water at the meter, which you can view in English or Spanish.
CPS Energy crews are prepared to respond to any local weather-related outages. High winds are in the forecast, and CPS Energy reminds residents to stay away from downed power lines and report them at 210-353-4357 (HELP). Do not attempt to move or drive over the lines.
Residents can sign up for Energy Alerts online or call 210-353-2222. For additional winter safety tips, go here.