As Houston Area Prepares for the Cold and Wind, Prospects of Another Uri are Slight We're Assured

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says it'll be cold and windy, but no Uri.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says it'll be cold and windy, but no Uri. Screenshot

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held a late afternoon press conference Tuesday to say that they are working together to prepare for the upcoming bad spate of weather expected to start Thursday night, with assurances this will not be as severe as the freeze of February 2021.

This week we're  facing something different," Hidalgo said. "What we have coming our way this Thursday is a hard freeze. Uri was unprecedented for our region. This hard freeze is something we face once every five years or so. And it is something we can handle so long as we work together."

She said they were calling this a hard freeze and not a winter storm "because they will be limited to cold weather and some wind." The forecast shows no snow, the forecast shows no icy roads. We essentially have three nights and mornings that will be extremely cold."

They don't expect any ice on the roads or traffic interruptions.

"And we've spoken to ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas} who have assured us that the grid will have sufficient capacity to meet demand and they're well prepared to withstand the cold temperatures this weekend. In other words, according to ERCOT, we are not expecting widespread power outages. "

Hidalgo said any chance of downed power lines will be because of high winds — expected to be in the 35-40 mph range — not icing or snow on the trees and that CenterPoint has also assured officials they are ready to make repairs as needed.

The county is coordinating with the city and the sheriff's department to try to get the homeless into shelters during the coldest weather, she said.

The Red Cross, the city of Houston and Harris County  are standing by with chairs, food,  blankets and comfort kits at several warming centers as the area's temperatures are expected to take a big dip beginning Thursday afternoon.

These locations will open up at 3 p.m. Thursday:

Fonde Community Center 110 Sabine
Moody Community Center 3725 Fulton
Acres Homes MSC 6719 W Montgomery Road
George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall B 1001 Avenida De Las Americas

Although the city is not encouraging people to bring pets along — other than service animals — the city's BARC animal shelter will provide kennels at the Fonde center and the George R. Brown.  
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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