Seven Tips to Stay Safe During the Polar Vortex Visit

by | Jan 13, 2024 | Industry News

Are You Prepared for the Polar Vortex Visit?

Polar cold is swooping into Texas for a few days! Learn how to prepare for this unwanted vist and stay safe.
The Polar Vortex is coming to your Texas home this week! While ERCOT doesn’t expect problems, you’ll want to prepare for this chilly visit with these seven tips to stay safe.

As the Polar Vortex makes its brief appearance in Texas, bringing frigid temperatures, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and warmth. ERCOT, the agency managing the Texas power grid, issued an advisory for the coming extreme cold weather event. And while ERCOT does not expect widespread grid failure, local power outages are possible. In light of this, here are seven essential tips to keep you and your loved ones safe during the Polar Vortex visit.

1. Keep Your Car Winter-Ready

Before hitting the road, equip your car for winter travel. Ice and snow can make roads treacherous, so keep essential items in your car. Pack blankets, a flashlight, snacks, and a first aid kit. Make sure your vehicle’s maintenance is up-to-date, including checking the battery, tires, and antifreeze levels. During extreme cold, having a well-prepared car becomes more than just a convenience — it’s a safety necessity.

2. Insulate Your Pipes

Frozen pipes can lead to costly damages and inconvenience. Ensure your pipes are insulated properly, especially in vulnerable areas like attics and basements. This simple step can prevent pipes from freezing and bursting, providing peace of mind during the Polar Vortex. If your home uses well water, beware that you may not be able to draw water in extreme weather. 

If you only have a few exterior hose bibs that need covering, you can use an old towel and some duct tape on each one. Your priorities here are to shield your pipes from the cold, and keep them dry to prevent ice. 

3. Winterize Your Home for Power Outages

Have a power outage kit that includes essentials like candles, flashlights, blankets, non-perishable food, and a battery-powered radio. Power outages sometimes impact water treatment plants, so make sure you have enough water to last through the cold weather event. The rule of thumb from the CDC is to have one gallon per person per day. Also, the CDC also recommends always having a two week supply on hand. 

4. Dress Appropriately for Extreme Polar Cold

When facing bitterly cold weather, dressing appropriately is key to staying warm and safe by dressing in layers. Wear insulated outerwear, and don’t forget hats and gloves. In other words, don’t dress like a middle school boy with a hoodie, shorts, and crocs. Opt for thermal layers to protect yourself from Polar Vortex cold. After all, Texas electricity providers may not be able to heat your home because of grid problems. 

Polar cold is coming Texas but you can still save on your electricity bills!
Polar cold is coming to visit Texas but you can still save on your electricity rates.

5. Gather Dry Firewood

If your home has a fireplace, make sure you have enough dry firewood to keep your fireplace lit throughout the cold weather event. When your Texas electricity isn’t available, a fire can keep your home in the 50s rather than the 30s. 

Normally, you don’t want to store firewood indoors. However, you may want to prepare your fireplace now. So, place whatever kindling you use in the firebox, and set a dozen or so logs on the hearth. Also, keep your other wood covered in case your area gets rainfall. 

6. Stay Informed About Grid Conditions

ERCOT has created communication tools like the Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS). Stay informed about grid status and any advisories issued. Being aware of the situation allows you to make informed decisions, especially during severe weather events like the Polar Vortex.

7. Check on Elderly Friends and Family

Times like these call for communities to come together and care for one another. So, check on your elderly family and friends before, during, and after the cold snap. They may have physical limitations to getting what they need, and you may have extra because you’re so prepared after reading this list. 

Be Ready for the Polar Vortex Visit 

In conclusion, staying safe during the Polar Vortex visit requires proactive measures and awareness. Implementing these seven tips ensures that you are well-prepared for the frigid temperatures and potential challenges that may arise. Keep yourself, your family, and your home secure as Texas faces the winter weather ahead.

And if you want to stay prepared for more extreme weather this year, then shop for fixed rate power plans at Here, you’ll find the best plans from highly rated providers. Your next electric plan is waiting for you! 

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