Local authorities are preparing for slick roads and possible power outages as a strong cold front makes its way toward South Texas, bringing a wintry mix of rain, sleet and freezing rain.
The cold front is likely to bring freezing rain and temperatures to much of the region beginning Thursday night, making dangerous road conditions and power outages a possibility, according to the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni and Mayor Paulette Guajardo have been planning with the National Weather Service and other agencies to prepare for whatever impact will come to the community, City Emergency Management Coordinator Billy Delgado said.
"Every department has a plan," Delgado said. "Whether it's getting trucks ready or getting equipment or coordinating with other agencies, because with the rain and freezing temperatures the roads will be slick."
Delgado said the city's focus is protecting life and property and recommended using caution and avoiding unnecessary travel.
"The city departments are working hard to prepare for the event," Delgado said. "We want to make sure people pay attention to the news and be very careful if they do go out."
The City of Corpus Christi will open warming centers beginning Thursday. The opening times for senior centers may change based on road conditions. The warming center locations will include:
Brookmoor Senior Center, 1651 Tarlton St. — Thurs.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to noon
Ethel Eyerly Senior Center, 654 Graham Road — Thurs.-Fri 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to noon
Northwest Senior Center, 9725 Up River Road — Thurs.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to noon.
La Retama Library, 805 Comanche St. — Thurs.-Sat. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mother Theresa Shelter, 513 Sam Rankin St. — Thurs.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to noon (if needed)
Metro Ministries, 1919 Leopard St. — Thurs.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to noon (if needed)
The Salvation Army Center for Hope, 1802 Buford (will be available for overflow) — Thurs.-Fri. doors open at 6 p.m.
Good Samaritan Rescue Shelter, 210 South Alameda St. — open 24 hours
Richard Borchard Fairgrounds, 1213 Terry Shamsie Blvd., Robstown — Open Thursday at 3 p.m. to Friday 3 p.m.
What to expect on the roads
Texas Department of Transportation crews are pretreating bridges on main roads, including Interstate Highway 37, US Highway 281, US Highway 77, State Highway 286 or Crosstown Expressway, State Highway 358 or South Padre Island Drive, State Highway 44, US Highway 59, US Highway 181, the Harbor Bridge, and the JFK Causeway. Crews also pretreated bridges in Karnes, Bee, Live Oak and Goliad counties.
The pretreatment solution is a mixture of salt and water that binds to the pavement and prevents precipitation from freezing on the pavement. The treatment appears as light white lines.
TxDOT crews are ahead of forecast wintry mix by pretreating bridges on main roads in 10 Coastal Bend counties: I-37, US 281, US 77, SH 286 (Xtown), SH 358 (SPID), SH 44, US 59, US 181, Harbor Bridge, JFK Causeway. All bridges pretreated in Karnes, Bee, Live Oak, Goliad counties. pic.twitter.com/VbNHAS714M
— TxDOT Corpus Christi (@TxDOT_Corpus) January 18, 2022
TxDOT crews are also pre-staging barricades in case the weather forces road or bridge closures and have loaded tucks with ice rock and de-icing material, a news release stated. These materials are applied to roadways to improve traction and break the bond between pavement and ice.
Crews will be available Thursday night and Friday to respond as needed to road conditions. The ferry will operate normally unless otherwise instructed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Although less than a tenth of an inch of ice accumulation is expected, even minor accumulations could result in hazardous conditions Thursday night, the NWS said.
Because slick ice could form on roads, the NWS in Corpus Christi suggests slowing down, not using cruise control and leaving plenty of distance between you and other vehicles.
Possible power outages
AEP Texas announced it will be monitoring the weather particularly in areas surrounding Victoria, Corpus Christi, Alice, Beeville, Kingsville and Laredo.
"Freezing temperatures and high winds could result in pockets of outages in these areas," a news release stated.
AEP Texas crews are on standby and storerooms are working to make sure replacement equipment is available.
AEP Texas asks that people consider any downed lines to be energized and dangerous and report hazards by calling 1-866-223-8508. Customers on life support or other medical equipment relying on electricity should have a backup plan in the event of an extended outage.
The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas and AEP Texas are not requesting energy conservation at this time, but say it's always good to practice energy efficiency such as lowering the temperature on the thermostat a few degrees or wearing a sweater.
Ashlee Burns covers trending and breaking news in South Texas. See our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Here's how Corpus Christi is preparing for strong cold front, freeze