AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – As the High Plains approaches its next stretch of winter weather, with the Climate Prediction Center reporting a six-to-10-day outlook of temperatures more than 20 degrees below average, community members might take the opportunity to brace for the chill.

Here are a few notes about how to best prepare for a temperature drop and wintery weather.

Preparing at home

According to guidelines and tips from the CDC and other experts, such as those from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Red Cross, preparation is needed to keep homes safe and warm during colder weather. Recommended steps include:

  • Winterizing homes.
    • Installing weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows;
    • Insulating water lines that run along exterior walls;
    • Letting cold water drip from indoor faucets served by exposed pipes;
    • Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around plumbing;
    • Closing garage doors, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage;
    • Cleaning out gutters and preparing roof leaks.
  • Checking heating systems.
  • Install a working smoke detector or check the batteries of existing smoke detectors.
  • Install a working carbon monoxide (CO) detector or check the batteries of existing CO detectors.
    • Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning, which can include headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion;
    • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement, and garage.

Preparing for the road

The CDC also offered tips for preparing vehicles for colder weather and winter emergencies, including:

  • Service the radiator and maintain the antifreeze level;
  • Checking the tire tread or, if needed, replacing tires;
  • Filling the gas tank;
  • Using a wintertime formula for windshield washer fluid;
  • Preparing an emergency kit to be held in the vehicle, including:
    • A cell phone charger;
    • Warming items such as extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets;
    • Windshield scraper;
    • Shovel;
    • Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
    • First-aid kit;
    • Booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter for traction;
    • Emergency tire repair equipment;
    • Extra food and water.

Other tips, resources, and precautions

The CDC and other experts have offered a range of tips for cold weather that is not strictly related to homes and vehicles, including:

  • Wearing appropriate outdoor clothing during cold weather, such as:
    • Tightly woven, wind-resistant coats or jackets;
    • Inner layers of light, warm clothing;
    • Hats, mittens, and scarves;
    • Waterproof shoes.
  • Sprinkling cat litter or sand on icy walkways;
  • Being aware of local resources for shelter, emergency assistance, and community outreach.
  • Preparing pets, livestock, and other property against exposure and harm from drastic cold temperatures.

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