Emergency officials preparing for possibility of power outages during arctic blast in central Texas

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:10 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Emergency management officials are making plans in case the looming artic blast causes some issues for Central Texas.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has assured everyone that the grid will hold up, but some folks are concerned that power will be a big issue during this cold weather.

A cold front will cause temperatures to drop below freezing, with wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hours on Thursday.

Emergency Management Coordinator for Waco-McLennan County, Elizabeth Thomas, said it may be a shock to some central Texans.

“That’s what’s going to make the worse of it. Even though the temperatures are definitely going to be dropping, but with that windchill on top of it, it makes it more of that winter weather that we’re not used to around here,” said Thomas.

Some people are not used to the winter weather, so some may not be used to the protocols in place to keep everyone safe.

Thomas said it’s vital that people take caution to their pipes, especially since most folks will be away from their homes for the holidays.

“Make sure you have those pipes covered or leave a faucet dripping. Nobody wants to come back from Christmas and have some busted pipes in our house,” said Thomas.

Harsh temperatures from years past caused power outages for a significant amount of time.

Some folks are worried about what to do if their power goes out during the cold air mass.

ERCOT said it received an on-time Winter Readiness Declaration from 95% of the facilities required to submit the declarations.

The next step is to inspect units that are new to the grid that have not previously been inspected, units that have a firm fuel contract and units that have had cold-weather performance issues.

Thomas said emergency management is already in talks in case the power goes out during this cold front.

“We’ll be working on the potential of opening a warming center. We’ll be working with all our of different city and county partners for any preparations in case any power loss were to come about,” said Thomas.

Thomas said the group is working on getting warming shelters finalized in case they need to be opened.

Emergency management will inform the public for those who need help.