HOUSTON — As an arctic blast took over Texas, many places across the Houston area opened their doors to serve as warming centers for those looking to escape the frigid cold weather.
The arctic blast moved into the Houston area Thursday afternoon. Temps dropped in a matter of hours Thursday, from the mid-60s to the 20s. By Friday morning, temps will be in the teens with winds gusting to 40 mph or more, making it feel like single-digit temps across the Houston area.
City of Houston warming centers
Service animals are welcome and the centers will have kennels to hold pets. Blankets, MRE, PPE and snacks will be provided.
- George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas) -- open Thursday at 3 p.m. until Sunday at 9 a.m.
- Moody Community Center (3725 Fulton St.) -- open Thursday at 3 p.m.
- Fonde Recreation Center (110 Sabine St.) -- open Thursday at 3 p.m.
- Acres Homes Multi-Service Center (6719 W Montgomery Road) -- open Thursday at 3 p.m. until Sunday at 9 a.m.
- Houston Recovery Center (150 N Chenevert St.) -- open Thursday at 2 p.m.
The Fondle and Moody community centers will close Saturday at noon, but the Houston METRO will be available to take people from these centers to the George R. Brown Convention Center where they can stay until Sunday at 9 a.m., the Mayor's Office announced Friday.
On Sunday, METRO will be available to drop people off at a location of their choice.
- Lakewood Church (3700 Southwest Freeway) -- open Thursday at 5 p.m.
Fort Bend warming center
- Attack Poverty Friends of Rosenberg (1908 Avenue E.) -- open 5 - 7 p.m. from Wednesday until Christmas Day. The maximum capacity is 40 people.
- Arcola Civic Center (13222 State Highway 6) -- Open 24/7 upon first visitor needed.
Galveston warming center
- McGuire Dent Recreation Center (2222 28th St.) -- open on Thursday at 6 p.m.
- High Island gym will be opened as a warming center in Galveston
Montgomery County warming center
- Lone Star Community Center (2500 Lone Star Parkway) -- open Thursday at 5 p.m. through Saturday at 6 p.m.
This list will be updated as we learn about more warming centers opening due to the arctic blast approaching this weekend.
Preparing for the freeze
City of Houston leaders are urging homeowners to start prepping their homes for the freezing weather now, especially if they have plans to head out of town for Christmas. That includes protecting the pipes.
It's essential to know a hard freeze could impact agricultural crops, outdoor residential plants and your pipes if you don't properly prepare.
Plumbing technicians say the worst mistake you can make during this cold snap is to do nothing. They recommend doing something as simple as covering your outside pipes with insulation to help make sure your pipes won’t burst.
"Water pipes have the potential to freeze and burst when the outside temperature reaches 20 F or below," according to a Texas A&M study.
Pipes most vulnerable to freezing are usually those exposed to severe cold air like swimming pool supply lines and water sprinkler lines.
During cold snaps, you also want to keep the heater running, even if you're out of town for the holiday. It's a good idea to leave your heat on at about 67 degrees to protect your home from the freezing temps, according to Chief Meteorologist David Paul.
Other tips to protect your home:
- Keep the garage door closed if there are water supply lines located inside.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Keep the heating thermostat set at a consistent temperature both day and night.
- If you are going out of town and have a heat pump system, and if the temperature is forecast to be extremely low, you may need to switch the setting to emergency heat and reduce the thermostat setting to 55 °F.