Man bundled up in the snow

First freeze of winter

Central Texas typically gets its first freeze in early to mid-December, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. The View has gathered guidance from the Red Cross, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and the American Veterinary Medical Association to help keep people, pets, plants, and pipes safe during freezing conditions.

People:   While outdoors, wear layers of lightweight clothes to protect against freezing temperatures and chilling winds. Wearing hats and gloves helps keep body heat from escaping. If you use a space heater indoors, remember to keep it at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire, including furniture, bedding and rugs; and be sure to turn it off before going to bed.

Pets:   In cold weather, dogs’ and cats’ body temperatures can drop, leading to frostbite or hypothermia. So even if your dogs and cats normally live outdoors, bring them inside when freezing weather is expected. If that’s not possible, provide outdoor pets with access to unfrozen water and to a shelter that blocks the wind.

Plants:   When a heavy frost or freeze is expected, protect plants by covering them with a sheet or blanket staked into the ground. Cover the plants late in the day so that they have as much time as possible to absorb heat from the sun; the covering will help hold the warmth in overnight.

Pipes:   To keep pipes from freezing—or possibly bursting in very cold weather—allow water to drip from a couple of faucets in the home. Opening cupboards under sinks also protects pipes by allowing warm air to circulate around them. External pipes in homes with pier-and-beam foundations can be wrapped with pipe insulation to help prevent freezing in cold weather.

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