East Texas (KETK) — The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is encouraging Texans to prepare for an arctic cold front expected to impact parts of Texas during the next few days, including the weekend. Forecasts indicate the possibility of ice accumulation of up to half an inch in portions of Texas. With the accumulation of ice on trees and electrical lines, power outages could be possible and driving conditions could be extremely hazardous.
“As this winter storm moves into Texas, drivers may encounter freezing rain or sleet that could create extremely dangerous driving conditions,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We are urging drivers use extra caution in places where winter precipitation or ice are expected, and to monitor the changing weather conditions in their area.”
In preparation for this winter storm, the governor has activated the Texas Military Forces, including two teams, each consisting of 10 vehicles and 27 personnel, which will pre-deploy to staging locations in Wichita Falls and Sherman on Thursday. Several other state agencies are making preparation to respond to this event, including the Texas Public Utility Commission, the Texas Department of Transportation, and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
DPS offers the following tips for staying safe during this weather event:
• Avoid unnecessary travel if possible, and monitor local weather broadcasts, and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions at http://www.weather.gov/ .
• Remember that ice forms first on bridges, overpasses and shady areas. If you hit a patch of ice, stay off your brakes and decelerate slowly, holding the steering wheel steady.
• On icy roads, drive slowly, increase distance needed for stopping, and avoid using cruise control.
• Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before any trip – check fluid and antifreeze levels.
• Keep your gas tank full to prevent water condensation in the tank.
• Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
For more information on road conditions statewide, check www.drivetexas.org  or call 800-452-9292.
In addition, here is a list of emergency supplies drivers can keep in their vehicle:
• Blankets/sleeping bags and extra clothing, mittens and hat
• Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries
• First-aid kit and pocket knife
• High calorie, non perishable food, bottled water
• Sack of sand or cat litter for de-icing roadway
• Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and shovel
For additional information regarding winter weather preparedness, visit: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/threatawareness/winterStormPlanning.htm