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FROM STAFF REPORTS

MARBLE FALLS — The Arctic blast that’s sent a mass of cold air across much of the central and eastern United States also might bring a cold, wintry mix to the Highland Lakes through the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, the blast will bring with it a possible rain/sleet mix in the Highland Lakes starting in the morning hours of Jan. 9 with temperatures in the 20s. The service anticipates freezing rain during the morning with rain and sleet continuing throughout much of the day with a high near 35.

The cold temperatures continue overnight to Jan. 10 with lows in the 20s and highs in the 30s and freezing rain through noon. The last round of possible freezing is anticipated during the morning hours Jan. 11, but temperatures should warm up to the mid-40s.

During the three-day period, officials say light icing — especially on bridges, overpasses, raised roads and even some county roads — is possible during night and morning hours. But they cautioned that drivers should proceed with care during anytime the temperatures hover around freezing and wet weather is present.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials are urging residents and drivers to prepare for the Arctic mass.

“As the latest cold front moves across the state, DPS is advising Texans to prepare for freezing temperatures and winter precipitation. Light snow, freezing rain and sleet in some areas could create hazardous driving conditions,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Texans should closely monitor the weather conditions in their area and use extra caution if they are driving in affected regions.”

The DPS also offered additional tips for staying safe during the cold — and possibly hazardous conditions.

  • Avoid unnecessary travel if possible. Monitor local weather broadcasts and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions at www.weather.gov.
  • Remember that ice forms on bridges and overpasses and in shady areas.
  • On icy roads, drive slowly, increase distance needed for stopping and avoid cruise control.
  • Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If the power is out, treat all intersections as four-way stops.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before any trip.
  • Don’t drink and drive; buckle up in the vehicle.

Go to www.drivetexas.org or call 1-800-452-9292 for more information on road conditions statewide.

If out and about during inclement, the DPS recommends drivers keep these items in their vehicle:

  • blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing, mittens and hats
  • cell phone, radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • first-aid kit and pocket knife
  • high-calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water
  • sack of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires
  • windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and shovel

Go to www.txdps.state.tx.us for more information.

Homeowners should also protect their pets, plants and pipes from freezing. Bring in pets and plants from outside or provide a warm shelter. Take these steps from the National Weather Service to help prevent water pipes from freezing and bursting:

  • Let all faucets drip (running water through pipes can help keep them from freezing.)
  • Keep the thermostat above 55 degrees day and night.
  • Open kitchen and cabinet doors under the sinks to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Keep doors to the garage closed if there are water supply lines inside.
  • Make sure water supply lines in unheated areas are insulated.
  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler lines.

Go to www.weather.gov for more tips.

editor@thepicayune.com