By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – Just like the Houston Astros’ offense in Games 6 and 7 of the World Series, the weather in the Houston and Anderson County areas turned cold at the end of October. After a brief warming trend in early November, the weather changed yet again.
This past Thursday afternoon, temperatures dropped and by Friday morning area temperatures were hovering around the freezing mark. While the weekend will see mild temperatures, the mercury is expected to drop into the low 30s on Monday with a 90% chance of rain. Tuesday is expected to be even colder with a high of 45 and a low of 26.
In addition, the National Weather Service is predicting temperatures will stay in the 40s and 50s the rest of the week.
Make no mistake, this is East Texas and the weather is subject to change on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. But as we get deeper into November and then into the winter months, it is best to be prepared for chilly conditions.
Keeping your home relatively warm is an important part of winter. You can stay warm and help cut down on winter heating bills by weatherizing your home. Stop by Lowe’s, Walmart or your local hardware store to pick up some caulk and weather stripping for doors and windows.
Check the insulation in the attic or below the floor of a mobile home. Make sure it is evenly distributed, not discolored or has become wet. If it is discolored or wet, you should think about replacing it. This will not only help in the winter months, but it will also keep your home cool in the summer.
Wrap your exposed pipes, this can help keep them from bursting in extreme cold. You can insulate piping using split pipe insulation or heat tape. Wrapping with layers of newspaper taped in place can also provide a certain level of protection.
Cover or wrap your outside faucets and if the temperature falls below freezing, allow them to drip. On the inside of your home, open cabinet doors that hide pipes so warmer air can circulate around the piping.
In an effort to keep warm, safety is often overlooked. If you have a fireplace, make sure you have the chimney checked and cleaned – if needed – before the first fire of the season. Many people forget about this after the last fire of the previous year. Soot build-up, birds or other animal nests can cause a fire that destroys your home. Also, never leave space heaters, fireplaces or wood-burning stoves unattended
Your car is another area that needs to be winterized. Make sure the antifreeze is at the proper level and changed, if needed. Also, make sure the other fluid levels in your automobile are where they should be. Service your brakes, check the air pressure levels in your tires and make sure your battery is in good shape.
Pets are also susceptible to the cold. Make sure they have shelter from the elements and a blanket they can snuggle into for warmth. Food and water levels also need to be monitored. If your pets are frequently outside in the winter months, they will need more calories to produce body heat, so increase the amount you feed them. In extreme conditions, bring them inside.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com