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Are You Ready For Winter Weather?

 At the first mention of a winter freeze, traffic and commerce in North Central Texas freezes, too. Why? While colder weather brings a welcome change, most people aren’t prepared for it. Freezing rain, snow and ice can make for great outdoor fun - but can also result in car accidents, hypothermia, and carbon monoxide poisoning from defective heating units. In addition, a few inches of ice can bring down power lines that result in days-long outages. And on the road, that quick trip to grandma’s can turn into an impromptu camp-out in the car. But don’t get your mittens in a twist. With a little planning, you can protect yourself and enjoy some frosty fun!

Storms with Strong Winds

Sometimes winter storms are accompanied by strong winds creating blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow, severe drifting, and dangerous wind chill. Strong winds with these intense storms and cold fronts can knock down trees, utility poles, and power lines.

Extreme Cold

Extreme cold often accompanies a winter storm or is left in its wake. Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life-threatening. Infants and elderly people are most susceptible. What constitutes extreme cold and its effect varies across different areas of the United States. In areas like Garland unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered "extreme cold." Pipes may freeze and burst in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat.

Ice Storms

Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees, electrical wires, telephone poles and lines, and communication towers. Communications and power can be disrupted for days while utility companies work to repair the extensive damage. Even small accumulations of ice may cause extreme hazards to motorists and pedestrians.

During a Winter Storm

The following are guidelines for what you should do during a winter storm or under conditions of extreme cold:

  • Listen to your radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid overexertion. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first, and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Remain indoors if possible. If you must go out, dress to fit the weather, with layered, wind-resistant clothing, a hat, and gloves or mittens to protect yourself against frostbite.
  • If you must perform work outside, take frequent breaks to warm up and avoid overexertion.
  • Have emergency heating equipment approved for indoor use and appropriate fuel for it. Emergency heating equipment includes kerosene or propane heaters and wood stoves.
  • Make sure to wrap exterior pipes and drip your interior faucets when the temps dip below 33 degrees to keep pipes from freezing.  Frozen pipes can cause major flooding damage to your home once the pipes thaw out.
  • Have emergency lighting in case the power goes out: flashlights or lanterns with a supply of batteries or fuel.
  • Keep an emergency supply of ready-to-eat non-perishable food and an emergency supply of water on hand.
  • Listen to your radio or TV to obtain weather and emergency information. Have a battery-powered radio with spare batteries in case your electricity goes off.
  • Travel only if absolutely necessary. If you must travel, do so in daylight. Have emergency supplies in your vehicle.

Know the Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a winter storm hazard:

Heavy Snow:  Snowfall which accumulates to a depth of at least 4” in 12 hours or 6” in 24 hours.

Sleet:  Pellets of completely frozen ice.

Freezing Rain/Freezing Drizzle:  Rain or drizzle which falls as liquid then freezes when it strikes the ground or other surfaces.



Freezing Rain

Freezing precipitation is expected, ice

accumulations are anticipated to be

less than 1/4 inch.

Changes to
Ice Storm Warning

Winter Weather

Hazardous winter weather conditions are

occurring, imminent or likely. Threshold

includes the following events:

- Snow Accumulation < 4"
- Freezing Rain/Drizzle Accumulation < 1/4"
- Sleet Accumulation < 1/2"
- Blowing or Drifting Snow that causes

visibility < 1/4 mile

Changes to
Winter Storm Warning

Wind Chill

Wind Chill (feel of ambient air) is < 1°F


Winter Storm

Below threshold is
Winter Weather Advisory

Hazardous winter weather conditions are

occurring, imminent or likely. Threshold

includes the following events:

- Snow Accumulation > 4"
- Freezing Rain/Drizzle Accumulation > 1/4"
- Sleet Accumulation > 1/2"
- Blowing or Drifting Snow that causes

visibility < 1/4 mile



A Freeze Warning is issued when

significant, widespread freezing

temperatures are occurring that could affect

people or animals left outdoors or cause

pipes to burst.

Ice Storm

Below threshold is
Freezing Rain Advisory

Freezing precipitation is expected with at

least 1/4" of accumulation.

Exclusive to freezing rain or freezing drizzle

type of precipitation.



Both of the following conditions are

occurring or expected for 3+ hours:

- Sustained winds > 35 mph with falling snow
- Reduced visibility < 1/4 mile

*There is no temperature requirement that

must be met to achieve blizzard conditions.




Siren Information

The new siren system is active! if you would like more information about the outdoor warning sirens in Garland, such as when they are activated, testing schedules, or you just want more information, please click here.