Winter Blast Blog: Updates on city services, advisories, events



Posted on February 3, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 4 at 11:39 PM

Harris Co. emergency operations scale back to Level 3

The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has moved from Level 2 (High Readiness) to Level 3 (Increased Readiness). Level 3 means that hazardous conditions exist but pose no direct threat to life/property. Increased readiness may require additional agencies to support a response from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), based on the nature of the incident.

Houston Zoo open Saturday

The Houston Zoo will return to its regular operating hours beginning tomorrow, Saturday February 5.  This time of year the Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the last entry of the day at 5 p.m.  Visit the Houston Zoo Web site for complete admissions information at

Fort Bend County Clinical Health Services
The Immunization Clinic at the Rosenberg Annex from 8 - 12 Saturday has been cancelled.

HPD: If you crash, stay in your car

Houston police are asking motorists involved in traffic accidents that disable their vehicles in the icy conditions to call 911 and remain in their vehicles until a police officer or wrecker driver arrives at the scene.

One man, 30, was killed earlier today (Feb. 4) after he got out of his disabled vehicle and sat on a guardrail on the East Freeway overpass near Federal Road.  He was struck as a result of two trucks that slid in the icy conditions.

With freezing weather expected throughout tonight and into tomorrow morning, HPD urges citizens to refrain from driving, especially on highways or overpasses, unless they absolutely have to.

HPD officers responded to about 750 traffic accidents in the city from 10 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 3) until 11 a.m. today.  Thus far, the only accident resulting in a fatality was the pedestrian on the East Freeway.   

Sam Houston Race Park cancels races Friday night

Sam Houston Race Park has canceled live racing tonight, Friday, February 4, due to winter weather. The weather has created dangerous conditions on the track’s two racing surfaces as well as slick conditions for drivers. At this time, The Park plans to remain open for simulcast operations on Friday, February 4, unless otherwise posted. Live racing will resume on Saturday, February 5. Post times for this weekend’s live racing schedule are Saturday (7 p.m.), and Monday (1:20 p.m.). There will be no live racing on Sunday, February 6;

Sam Houston Race Park will be open for simulcasting all weekend. The 2011 Thoroughbred meet continues through Monday, March 7th. Live American Quarter Horse racing will start on Friday, March 11th and run through Sunday, May 15th with races every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the full calendar of Sam Houston Race Park’s 2011 live race dates, visit Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 19 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Champion Energy Services Jockey Club. Sam Houston Race Park Platinum Partners include Bud Light, Verizon Wireless and Champion Energy Services. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

Harris County Jail visitation canceled

Please be advised that due to the inclement weather and hazardous road conditions, Harris County Jail inmate visitations have been canceled for today, February 4. Weather permitting, regular visitation hours will resume Saturday morning at 8 a.m. 

Metro service modification likely for Saturday

METRO staff is working around the clock to keep Houstonians moving during frigid weather and extreme icing conditions on local freeways and overpasses. Every effort is being made to continue local bus service but some delays will likely occur as our drivers detour to avoid road hazards.

Riders are encouraged to call the METROLine at 713-635-4000 to determine if there are significant delays or modifications to their normal bus routes.

METRO rail service continues with double cars at 12 minute frequencies rather than the usual six minute intervals.

Airport Direct Service will depart each hour and the trip time will be longer.

METRO expects to resume Park & Ride and HOV lane service on Monday.   

Weather and road conditions will be monitored and services adjusted as needed.

METRO will continue to offer warming vehicles at 20 Transit Centers as weather conditions dictate.

Customers are encouraged to visit or call 713-635-4000 for more information about METRO transit services.

Christopher's Heart Energy for Life Walkathon canceled

Christopher’s Heart Energy for Life Walkathon – Saturday February 5, 2011 has been canceled – go to for more information. 

Join us next year on February 4, 2012!

TxDOT monitoring Houston bridges, overpasses

TxDOT’s Houston District Emergency Operations Center continues to monitor the state’s roadway system. Maintenance crews are working to make bridges and overpasses safe for travel by spreading aggregate to improve traction. Motorists are strongly encouraged to stay off the roadways unless absolutely neces sary.

On Wednesday and Thursday morning, crews sprayed a liquid magnesium chloride solution on bridges and overpasses. This solution is used as a preventative measure and lowers the point of freezing temperature. Our area received a continuous drizzle of freezing rain which coupled with rapidly decreasing road temperatures caused ice to build on bridges and overpasses.

“I’m confident that our efforts in treating the roadways with the magnesium chloride helped to minimize the severity of this event. Without our pre-treatment activities, the event could have been much worse,” states Houston District Engineer Delvin Dennis, P.E.

Guns 4 Roses concert canceled

Friday’s Guns 4 Roses concert at the House of Blues has been cancelled.

All refunds for tickets purchased are available at point of purchase.

Willie Nelson concert rescheduled

The Willie Nelson concert scheduled for Friday night at Verizon Wireless Theater has been postponed until April 28 because of the weather.

All tickets purchased for Friday’s show will be honored on the new date.

Missouri City trash routes

Republic Services will collect garbage along both Friday and Saturday’s trash routes in Missouri City on Saturday.

HPARD Community Centers to open late Saturday

HPARD Community Centers with weekend hours will open at 12 noon on February 5, 2011 in consideration of current weather reports predicting freezing conditions for Saturday morning and in consideration of the safety of both our citizens and staff.

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages over 38,992 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit

Lynchburg ferry closed until Saturday morning

Harris County Precinct Two Commissioner Jack Morman has announced that the Lynchburg Ferry will resume service Saturday morning at 10 a.m.  Ferry service on both Saturday and Sunday will be from 10 a.m. until 8:15 p.m.  

Normal operating hours (4:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.) will resume Monday.

The continued risk of ice on the boats, landings and roads leading to the Ferry remains through this evening when the Ferry normally ceases operations for the overnight period. 

“When we first closed the Ferry at 2:00 p.m. Thursday we anticipated that we would need to remain closed through today,” said Commissioner Morman.  “The safest course for us to take is to remain closed through Saturday morning when forecasters predict the freezing weather will have left the area.”

Alternate routes crossing the channel include the Fred Hartman Bridge, the Beltway 8 Bridge and the Washburn Tunnel.

9 a.m. update on League City roads

League City Police Department is reporting that several area roadways remain closed. However, TXDOT crews have been working this morning to de-ice some local bridges. League City Public Works crews are also monitoring local roads and bridges.

The police department is asking all residents to stay off the roadways if possible. Below is a list of closed and recently opened roadways for those who must travel.

Washburn Tunnel open

The Washburn Tunnel is open.  The passage underneath the Houston Ship Channel in the Pasadena and Galena Park areas is still open according to Harris County Precinct Two Commissioner Jack Morman.

As bridges in the area ice over the Washburn Tunnel remains an alternate route to cross from one side of the Houston Ship Channel to the other.

Kroger stores open Friday

All 100+ Kroger stores in Greater Houston are open today and stocked with winter weather essentials including firewood, batteries and candles plus canned soup and chili among other products that are popular during the cold season.

Kroger prepared for the anticipated wintry conditions earlier in the week and arranged for additional deliveries of essential items to be shipped to stores in the area.

Store employees are not required to report to work today if they are unable to do so safely.

Trash pickup in Pearland

Please be advised that regular trash pick up service will run today, Friday Feb. 4 for Pearland.

Boil water notice in Anahuac

Due to low water pressure experienced within the City of Anahuac, a Boil Water Notice is in effect until further notice.

For more information, call City Hall at 267-6681.

Houston SPCA admission/adoptions closed

The Houston SPCA Adoption and Admission Center will be closed all day Friday, February 04, 2011 due to the severe winter weather.  The 24 Hour Stray/Injured Animal Ambulance and the Cruelty Investigation team will continue to operate.

You can contact the 24 Hour Injured Animal Rescue Hotline at 713-880-HELP.  You can also fill out an on-line cruelty report by logging onto

Houston Parks and Recreation closed

Houston Parks and Recreation Department will be closed on Friday, February 4, 2011 due to inclement weather. This includes all HPARD Community Centers, Tennis Centers, Golf Facilities, the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark, the Hermann Park Mini Train, Hermann Park Pedal Boats and Concessions, the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, the Houston Garden Center, the Memorial Park Fitness Center, The First Tee of Houston at FM Law Park, and guests with reservations for Lake Houston Wilderness Park should call (281) 354-6881 for more information. 

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages over 38,992 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit

Conroe VA Outpatient Clinic closed

HOUSTON – Due to the extreme weather and road closures in the Conroe area, the Conroe VA Outpatient Clinic will be closed on Friday, February 4, 2011.

Veterans will be contacted by clinic staff to reschedule cancelled appointments as soon as possible.

Veterans who need medical advice should call the VA Network Telecare Center Hotline at (713) 794-8985 or toll-free 1-800-639-5137. Registered nurses, pharmacists, and administrative clerks at the VA Network Telecare Center are ready to answer veteran health care questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The VA Network Telecare Center is not for life-threatening emergencies. Veterans with life-threatening emergencies should immediately call 911.

Pearland trash service

If your regularly scheduled Friday trash pickup is interrupted due to inclement weather, trash is scheduled to be picked up on Saturday.

La Porte city services

Unless weather conditions change, non-emergency City buildings will open at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 4th. This includes City Hall, the Recreation Center, and other civic and community centers. All emergency services will function as normal today and Friday.

Should schedules change, more information will be provided.

Harris County health centers, clinics closed Friday

The Harris County Hospital District health centers, school-based clinics and eligibility centers will be closed Friday, Feb. 4, 2011.

All specialty clinics at Ben Taub General Hospital, Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital and Quentin Mease Community Hospital will be closed Friday, Feb. 4, 2011.

The Riverside Dialysis Center, 3315 Delano, Houston, TX 77004, will remain open.

All emergency and inpatient care at the hospital district’s facilities — Ben Taub General Hospital, Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital and Quentin Mease Community Hospital — will remain in full operation throughout this weather situation.

Facilities closing on Friday, Feb. 4, are:

Acres Home Health Center,
818 Ringold Street, Houston, TX 77088

Aldine Health Center
4755 Aldine Mail Route, Houston, TX 77039

Baytown Health Center
1602 Garth Road, Baytown, TX 77520

Casa de Amigos Health Center
1615 North Main Street, Houston, TX 77009

E.A. “Squatty” Lyons Health Center
1712 First Street, Suite M20, Humble, TX 77338

El Franco Lee Health Center
8901 Boone Road, Houston, Texas 77099

Gulfgate Health Center
7550 Office City Drive, Houston, TX 77012

Dental Center Health Center
5230 Griggs Road, Houston, TX 77021

Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center
3550 Swingle Road, Houston, TX 77047

Northwest Health Center
1100 West 34th Street, Houston, TX 77018

People’s Health Center
6630 De Moss Street, Houston, TX 77074

Settegast Health Center
9105 North Wayside Drive, Houston, TX 77028

Strawberry Health Center
927 E. Shaw Road, Pasadena, TX 77506 

Thomas Street Health Center
2015 Thomas Street, Houston, TX 77009

Jerry Neal Health Clinic at Channelview High School
828 ½ Sheldon Road, Channelview, TX 77530

Almatha Clark Taylor Health Clinic at Cloverleaf Elementary
13940 Bonham Street, Houston, TX 77015

Deepwater Health Clinic at Deepwater Elementary
305 Glenmore, Pasadena, TX 77503

Goose Creek School Health Clinic at San Jacinto Elementary
2706 Kentucky Street, Baytown, TX 77520

Patrick Henry Health Clinic at Patrick Henry Middle School
10702 E. Hardy, Houston, TX 77093

Robert Carrasco Health Clinic at Marshall Middle School
1115 Noble, Houston, TX 77009

Sheldon Health Clinic at Sheldon Elementary
17203 ½ Hall Sheppard, Houston, TX 77049

Smiley Health Clinic at Smiley High School
10726 Mesa Road, Houston, TX 77078

Southside Health Clinic at Galena Park Community Resource and Training Center
1721 16th Street, Galena Park, TX 77547

Acres Home Eligibility Center
818 Ringold, Houston, TX 77088

Southwest Eligibility Center
8901-B Boone Rd., Houston, TX 77099

East Mount Houston Eligibility Center
11737B Eastex Freeway, Houston, TX 77039

Southeast Eligibility Center
3550-A Swingle Rd, Houston, TX 77047

Strawberry Eligibility Center
925 Shaw Road, Pasadena, TX 77506


Conroe City Hall, non-essential services closed Friday

The City of Conroe announces that City Hall offices and all non-essential services will be closed all day Friday, February 4, 2011, due to the winter weather conditions.

The activities sponsored by the Parks Department (i.e. After School Program at Oscar Johnson Community Center, ESL GED, Karate, Ballet and the use of the Recreation Center) will be cancelled February 4, 2011 and resume on Saturday, February 5, 2011.  The scheduled Daddy Daughter Dance on February 5, 2011 and commence as planned.

Friendswood city offices closed

Due to current winter storm warnings, City of Friendswood offices will not open until noon on Friday (Feb. 4). All City emergency operations will continue to be fully functional. Before attempting to visit a City facility, you are encouraged to please call first to ensure that the facility closing has not been extended due to inclement weather.

The Friendswood Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor weather conditions throughout the night and provide updates as needed.

Harris County Tax Office closed Friday

HOUSTON – Feb. 3, 2011 – All 15 branches of the Harris County Tax Office will be closed Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 because of the frigid weather and dangerous travel conditions.

Citizens are reminded that almost all transactions, payments and registrations are still possible via the Tax Office website, or via automated telephone (713-368-2000).

Baytown prepares for winter weather

The City of Baytown is making preparations for the expected winter weather event that is predicted to move into the area this evening. City crews are working around the clock to prepare bridges and major intersections as significant ice accumulations are expected overnight. Residents are asked to avoid travel if possible as city streets are expected to ice over and become treacherous.

Due to the dangerous driving conditions that are expected, all non-emergency related City offices will delay opening until 10 a.m., weather permitting, Friday. Continued unsafe conditions could cause City offices to remain closed until noon or until travel is deemed safe. Sterling Municipal Library will close at 5 pm this evening. The Baytown Nature Center is closed, and will reopen Saturday at 10 am, weather permitting.

City officials will continue to monitor conditions and should the need arise; a warming center will be opened. Residents can tune in to Btv - Comcast Channel 16 or visit to get current weather-related information.

Details on city office closures in League City

The City of League City will have several closures this afternoon and tomorrow due to the threat of severe weather.

“The Winter Weather Task Force met and made a decision based on the safety and well being of our employees and residents. The Public Works and Public Safety departments will continue their winter weather contingency plans in order to provide continued service to our residents ” said City Manager Marcus Jahns.

League City Hall and Helen Hall Library will close at 4 p.m. today. City Hall and Helen Hall Library will also be closed tomorrow.

The Parks Department has closed all City parks and cancelled all City-sponsored indoor and outdoor sports events scheduled for tonight and tomorrow. City parks will reopen on Saturday. The warming station at Helen Hall Library has also been closed due to the lack power outages.

The City is still waiting for word from Ameriwaste on garbage service. Any cancellation of services will be posted on our website

League City will continue to keep residents informed through our Blackboard Connect call system, our website and social media pages and our emergency preparedness website Residents can reach the City overnight using our police department’s non-emergency line at 281-332-2566.  Emergency calls should continue to be directed to 911. People in need of shelter should contact the state’s helpline by calling 211.

Harris County jury duty canceled Friday

Concerns about inclement weather on Friday, Feb. 4, will shut down Harris County courts. No prospective jurors called to serve in the Harris County District Courts or County Courts at Law should report to jury service.

“The safety of our citizens is our primary concern, and we don’t want anyone to have to drive downtown on slick roads,” District Clerk Chris Daniel said. 

Those scheduled to make an initial appearance on Friday will be excused and will not be summoned again.

Bellaire city services delayed Friday

On Friday, Bellaire city services will be delayed. City Hall will open at 10 am. Garbage pickup will be delayed on Friday, Feb 4, 2011. City Library will be normal operating hours opening at 1pm and closing at 5pm. Parks and Recreation will open at 10am and close at 7pm.

City officials will be monitoring conditions and hours are subject to change. Please continue to check our website for up to date information with regards to closures.

Missouri City offices open at 10 Friday

Due to weather conditions, City of Missouri City offices will open at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 4 and close at 5 p.m. Emergency crews will be available as needed, depending on the road conditions.  City crews have spread a special type of rock on bridges in Missouri City, including the Trammel Fresno Bridge to help prevent icy conditions from forming. For updates, please watch the City’s website,, and tune into Missouri City Television (Channel 16 on Comcast and Channel 99 on AT&T U-verse) and 1690 AM on the radio dial.

Garbage pickup suspended in Houston Friday

The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) will suspend garbage, yard trimmings, recycling and junk waste collection on Friday, February 4, 2011 due to the inclement weather. All public facilities, such as the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center and the Neighborhood

Depositories/Recycling Centers will also be closed on Friday, February 4, 2011.The SWMD will resume its services on Saturday, February 5, 2011 pending the weather.

The Department is requesting that residents with internet connectivity check the Solid Waste Management Department’s website, or its facebook page: for the latest collection and facility schedule.

The Solid Waste Management Department provides solid waste services to the citizens of Houston through the collection, disposal and recycling of discarded material in a manner that is safe, efficient, environmentally-sound and cost-effective.

Lynchburg Ferry closed at 2 p.m. Thursday

Harris County Precinct Two Commissioner Jack Morman has announced that the Lynchburg Ferry will close beginning at 2:00 p.m. until the risk of icing on the boats, landings and the roads leading to the Ferry has ended.

"We anticipate that conditions will require the Ferry to remain closed through Friday.  We will continuously evaluate the Ferry operation based on safety first and will begin service again as soon as weather conditions allow," Commissioner Morman said.

Alternate routes crossing the channel include the Fred Hartman Bridge, the Beltway 8 Bridge and the Washburn Tunnel.

Galveston ceases non-essential operations

Galveston Island is under a winter storm watch now through midday Friday. The Island will experience below freezing temperatures and receive a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain during this time frame. City officials are urging Islanders to take precautions and prepare for the inclement weather. As of 2PM this afternoon non-essential city operations will cease. Most city facilities will be closed tomorrow, Friday, February 4.  

The Galveston Island Causeway will remain open. This roadway is a State priority. The Texas Department of Transportation has applied liquid magnesium chloride to the causeway prevent ice build up. Crews are monitoring conditions for the next 24 hours. 

The City is not opening the Emergency Operations Center. In case of an emergency please call 9-1-1 immediately. For information please call non-emergency dispatch, 409-765-3702. The public is urged to call family and friends to make sure they are protected from the cold. Bring all pets indoors. Protect exposed pipes and plants.

City Closures:

Beginning today at 2PM, the following City facilities will close:

Municipal Court

McGuire Dent Recreation Center

Wright Cuney Recreation Center

City Hall including the following departments: Permitting, Customer Service, Grants & Housing, Human Resources, and City Secretary. 

CDM will close their offices on the 1st floor of City Hall and reschedule meetings with program applicants.

These facilities will remain closed tomorrow. Scholes International Airport remains open. The Galveston Police and Fire Departments remain on duty and will respond to calls for service.

City Employees:

The City of Galveston is initiating emergency operations procedures effective at 2PM on today. All essential employees will continue to report to duty and provide city services. The City Manager will determine when normal operations are to resume. Employee updates will be posted on the City’s website, and available from supervisors.

Island Roadways

The following overpasses and bridges have been treated with liquid magnesium chloride:

61st Street Overpass

51st Street Overpass

Pelican Island Bridge

61st Street Offatts Bayou Bridge

City crews are monitoring roadways and will apply aggregate to restore traction as needed.

Reporting Water Breaks, Service Interruptions, & Outages

The Public Works Department will man the main phone line, 409-797-3630 until 7:30PM tonight. 

To report broken infrastructure after 7:30PM the public should call the City’s 24Hour hotline 409-766-2115. 

These procedures will remain in place until the weather warms or calls for service decline, which ever happens first.

Making Emergency Property Repairs

The City of Galveston’s building codes allow property owners to make emergency repairs without first applying for a permit. Property owners should submit their permit application within the next working business day to the City.

Island Transit Service Suspension

The City will suspend Island Transit bus service at 3:30PM today, Thursday, February 3. Service will be suspended until further notice. City staff will monitor weather conditions and announce when service will resume. Island Connect Park & Ride will operate until 2PM today. Service between the Island and the Mainland will be suspended until further notice.

Traffic Signals

The City is reminding drivers to treat intersections that have lost power or are flashing as 4-way stops. Drivers should proceed with caution when approaching and driving through affected intersections. City crews spent most of today restoring power to intersections after multiple electrical outages. Crews will continue to monitor and respond to traffic intersection problems.

Galveston Fire Marshal’s Office

In case of emergencies the public should use flashlights and battery powered lamps. Candles pose a fire hazard and should not be relied upon during an emergency. Place space heaters on the floor at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes. Never leave children unattended near a space heater. Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.

Precinct 2 activates snow and ice plan

Harris County Precinct Two Commissioner Jack Morman has assigned road and bridge crews to a 24/7 staffing schedule as they prepare roads and bridges in advance of anticipated snow and ice.

Precinct Two has a Snow and Ice Plan outlining the procedures and staffing necessary to take preventive measures at known trouble spots such as bridge decks, steep grades, sharp curves and approaches to some railroad crossings.

“Safety is our first priority,” said Commissioner Morman.  “Coordinating with the Toll Road Authority, TxDOT and the municipalities in Precinct Two we will work to prevent unsafe driving conditions and road closures.”

Crews will remain on duty during the snow and ice event at all three Precinct Two road camps.  Beginning this afternoon, as precipitation begins to fall, sand and/or aggregate will be applied to roads and bridges known to be at risk for ice formation or snow accumulation.

Additionally, dispatchers at each location will be in constant communication with supervisors  monitoring county-maintained roads to quickly react to icing conditions.

ERCOT no longer in emergency situation

ERCOT operations has cancelled the emergency procedures that began early Wednesday morning.  The peak demand this morning was 55,460 MW (for 9-10 am) which did not surpass the new winter record set Wednesday evening between 7 and 8 pm.

"We are very appreciative of the sacrifices of those who were without power during the rotating outages, and we also appreciate the conservation efforts by consumers during this emergency situation, as well as the load resources in our demand response programs," said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett.  "We also want to thank the media for their assistance in getting information out to the public about the need to conserve."

"I also am very proud of the great work by the ERCOT operators  in handling what could have been a disastrous situation for the entire state if they had not taken the quick action necessary to preserve the security of the grid," he said.

"I also want to note the support and assistance we received from the transmission providers and generation owners and the Public Utility Commission," Doggett said.

"With continued cold temperatures and snow predicted across the state, we ask that everyone continue to conserve their electricity usage until temperatures moderate. "

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to approximately 22 million Texas customers - representing 85 percent of the state’s electric load and 75 percent of the Texas land area.  As the Independent System Operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units.

Tips for heating your home safely

AUSTIN – As the temperatures drop, the risk of fire related property loss, injury and death increases. The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds everyone that home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. Historically, use of space heaters has resulted in more fires and fire fatalities than other heating sources. Many fire related tragedies are preventable, if precaution is taken when preparing to stay warm.

The State Fire Marshal urges you to follow safe space heater practices:

Keep heaters at least three feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.

Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where people or pets might bump it or knock it over.

Before using electric space heaters for the first time each season, check for fraying or splitting wires.

Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.

Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.

Make sure that everyone knows how dangerous it is to dry clothing over these heaters or place combustible materials near them.

Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.

Many Texas households use space and wall heaters that burn propane or natural gas. When using these heaters, the State Fire Marshal’s Office recommends the following practices:

Make sure there is an adequate air supply. Home heaters must have an air supply; without it, they may produce carbon monoxide. If you are using an unvented space heater without an oxygen depletion sensor, keep a window or door slightly open.

Make sure that pilot lights are working properly. If your heater has a pilot light and you can’t keep it lit, or if the control is hard to operate, have it repaired.

Turn off the heater(s) (1) If you smell fumes, your eyes sting, or if you feel dizzy or nauseated; (2) If there is a yellow or fluttering flame; (3) If the vent isn’t drawing.

Don’t use space heaters with broken or out-of-place ceramic radiants.

If you smell a strong gas odor, turn off all pilot lights, don’t flip on any electrical switches (such as room lights) and call your gas company from another location. Small sparks from turning on lights or making a phone call could ignite gas.

Never store or use flammable liquids like gasoline, cleaning fluid or paint thinner near heaters.

Never use the kitchen stove to heat the house, or a grill or other outdoor, fuel-burning apparatus.

Test your smoke alarms monthly. If you don’t already have a home escape plan, make one and practice it. Your plan should include knowing two ways out of every room and having a designated meeting place outside and away from your house.

Metro Park & Ride service starting early Thursday

METRO will be starting all Park & Ride service at 1 p.m. today to accommodate customers with early work dismissals.

The Park & Ride buses will be running about every half hour until the start of the regular Park & Ride schedule. Street supervisors will be on hand to assist customers.

We are offering early service to ensure our customers arrive home safely, but we also ask for their patience as they may experience delays and overcrowding on our system due to large crowds leaving the downtown district at the same time.

We will continue with our regularly scheduled service for the remainder of the day. Weather and road conditions will be monitored and services adjusted as needed.

METRO also is continuing to offer warming vehicles at 20 Transit Centers until Friday afternoon or as weather conditions dictate.

For more information, customers are encouraged to visit or call 713-635-4000.

No trash pickup in Conroe Friday

The City of Conroe on Thursday announced that Republic Services, Inc. will not pick up garbage/recycling on Friday Feb. 4, 2011, due to bad road conditions. Collections will resume on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.

TxDOT: All roadways, bridges to remain open for travelers

Presently all TxDOT roadways in the Houston District area are open and safe to travel. The Galveston Causeway, Fred Hartman and San Jacinto bridges are open and safe for travel. TxDOT does not anticipate closing any roadways. If a closure is required, an official notice will come from TxDOT.

Any unnecessary travel on roadways is discouraged. Motorists can stay informed of road conditions in the Houston District as well as statewide, by calling our hotline at (800) 452-9292 or visit

Tips for driving in icy conditions:

• Slow down! – give yourself plenty of time to stop. If you must brake, tap on your brakes to avoid sliding. Do not slam on the brakes

• If your car breaks down stay in your vehicle to call for help. Do not get out until help arrives.

• Turn slowly. If you begin to hydroplane, turn in the direction of the slide.

• Ice may look like puddles of water. This is called black ice. Avoid driving over it if possible.<

• Make sure your car has plenty of antifreeze, not water

• If you find ice accumulated on your windshield, put cold water on it, not hot water.

• If you drive up on an intersection with no traffic signals or blinking signals, treat it as a four-way stop.

League City to open warming station at 10 a.m. Thursday

League City continues to prepare for tomorrow’s winter weather event. Public Works and Public Safety departments have already enacted winter contingency plans and City Manager Marcus Jahns has assembled a Winter Weather Task Force to ensure the City continues to function as normal.

"The health and safety of our residents are our highest priority. I’ve assembled a group of representatives from each department to plan responsibly and act decisively to deploy emergency plans while dealing with this severe weather event," said City Manager Marcus Jahns.

The power companies tell us there is a strong possibility that temporary outages may continue. We’re asking residents to conserve power to avoid service interruptions.

League City will open Helen Hall Library Thursday at 100 W. Walker as a warming station for residents who may be experiencing power outages. The warming station will open tomorrow morning beginning at 10 a.m.

The Parks Department has cancelled all City-sponsored outdoor sports events tonight. City-sponsored indoor and outdoor sports events scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, February 3 and 4 have been cancelled.

The City plans to continue to keep residents informed through our Blackboard Connect call system, our website and social media pages and our emergency preparedness website Residents can reach the City overnight using our police department’s non-emergency line at 281-332-2566.  Emergency calls should continue to be directed to 911. People in need of shelter should contact the state’s helpline by calling 211.