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Arctic blast headed to Texas: Here is how state agencies are preparing

A strong cold front with arctic air behind it will barrel through Texas in the coming days and make its way to the Houston area by Thursday morning.

TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott addressed Texans Tuesday ahead of the severe winter weather expected to impact the state as early as Wednesday. 

The governor said Texas has been preparing for an entire year for this type of weather and multiple state agencies, like ERCOT and TxDOT, have already been making moves to brace for the storm coming our way.

“We’re utilizing every applicable state agency to make sure that Texas will robustly respond to this extreme cold winter storm that is going to be swimming across Texas," said Abbott. 

The winter weather threat for the Houston area is not too high, though the cold weather coming our way means business.

TIMELINE: Arctic blast headed to Houston area later this week

The KHOU 11 Weather Team predicts temperatures dropping to the upper-20s Friday morning, mainly for the northern counties. The feels like temps will be close to the teens. 

How each state agency has prepared for the upcoming winter weather:

Public Utility Commission of Texas

  • PUC has held meetings with utilities on winter preparations.
  • Have inspected power generators in the entire state of Texas.
  • Providing 24/7 staff and will provide updates on electrical outages throughout the state.
  • Bringing more generators online sooner than what happened last year.
  • Crews already deployed to specific areas are expected to be impacted the hardest.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas 

  • Last Friday, ERCOT issued an operating condition notice for the forecast of cold weather starting Wednesday.
  • ERCOT is using a conservative approach to manage the grid and forecast to make sure they are prepared.
  • ERCOT predicting most power usage will be Friday morning and committed to having an excess of 15,000 megawatts of power available.
  • ERCOT said it's well prepared for conditions as they currently stand but remain flexible in order to be responsive to power demand needs.

RELATED: Here's a real-time look at how the Texas power grid is holding up

Railroad Commission of Texas 

  • The Railroad Commission of Texas conducted operation calls with local guests, distribution companies, major gas and producers, and pipeline operators throughout the state Monday. All are prepared for any potential inclement weather and do not anticipate any significant challenges.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

  • Deployed an emergency management support team, disaster response strike teams and emergency response hazmat contractors. All are on standby to assist local governments with air, water and waste issues.
  • Notified public drinking water and wastewater systems about steps to take in advance when winter weather approaches.
  • Working with ERCOT on TCEQ’s power emergency procedures, especially as they could apply to power generators.
  • Has contacted EPA region 6 to begin correlation of any possible response activities and response request.

Texas Department of Transportation 

  • TxDOT deployed 4,000 personnel to assist in winter weather preparations
  • Pretreatment of roads began Sunday.
  • Have had daily calls with district and division officials to determine specific needs.
  • TxDOT will shift resources as weather conditions shift.
  • Urged the public to stay up to date with road conditions using drivetexas.org.

Texas Division of Emergency Management

  • Hosted a statewide weather meeting for jurisdictions across the state to discuss life safety updates. Calls will continue daily throughout this event.
  • Working to ensure water and food are stationed in regions across the state.
  • Warehouses stocked with blankets, bed and other supplies.
  • www.tdem.texas.gov – for info on warming centers across Texas

You can listen to how other state agencies are preparing for the winter storm by watching the YouTube video below:

Remembering the four P's during cold weather:


The most important thing is to protect yourself by any means necessary. On the coldest days, make sure to bundle up in multiple layers. Also, protect your head with a winter hat. Warm air escapes your body from your head, so the head is the most important part of your body to protect. 


On the coldest days, make sure to not forget about your four-legged friends. Dr. John Russell from North Concho Veterinary Clinic said hypothermia is the main threat to pets from the cold. Make sure to bring pets inside where it is warm

It's especially important in Houston, where many people have short-haired dogs that are comfortable in the warmer weather. However, long-haired dogs acclimated to the warmer weather can feel the chill too, so bring them in as well. If they must remain outside, make sure they have places to stay warm or make sure they have booties to protect their paws from developing frostbite. 


Another thing to protect in times of cold is your plants. According to Tommy Olive from Olive’s Nursery, you want to bring in any plants that will die if exposed to under freezing conditions. You can also put a blanket over these plants or put Christmas lights in a pot to give out heat. If this is done, plants can be protected. Another tip is to bring them inside during the coldest nights.


When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, pipes can freeze and burst. Make sure to protect your outside pipes with a cover.

RELATED: Preparing your pipes for the cold weather

Note: The following video was uploaded Jan 20, 2022

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