HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The weather forecast is calling for near-freezing temperatures across South Texas, and the potential for winter weather impacting the Rio Grande Valley exists.

Blast of cold air to bring near freezing temperatures for Valentine’s Day

Rain is also in the forecast as we end the week. Here are some important weather winter safety tips that will keep you and your loved ones prepared and safe:

Always remember to protect the 4 P’s: People, Pets, Plants, and Pipes

Around The Home

  • Space Heaters
    • Plug space heaters directly into the wall. Do not use extension cords or plug the space heater into power strips!
    • Leave 3 feet of clear space around the heater. Make sure the heater is placed away from curtains, papers, furniture, or anything flammable.
    • Keep the space heater away from water.
    • Place heater on a sturdy, hard surface such as the floor. NEVER place the heater on a rug or on top of shelves, nightstands, or beds.
    • Never leave the heater unattended. Keep a close eye on the heater if you have children and/or pets.
  • Check the home heating system to make sure it is working properly.
  • Make sure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working properly.
  • Clean out chimneys and fireplaces.
  • If using a generator to power home, do not place the generator inside of the home. Carbon Monoxide can kill.
  • Do not use stoves for heat.

Staying Safe Outdoors

  • Dress in layers.
  • If outdoors for prolonged periods of time, wear a hat, a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth, long sleeve shirts, thick gloves, water-resistant coat, and boots.
  • Several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
  • Know the symptoms of hypothermia:
    • Shivering
    • Exhaustion or feeling very tired
    • Confusion
    • Fumbling hands
    • Memory Loss
    • Slurred speech
    • Drowsiness
  • If having to work outdoors:
    • Be well rested
    • As you dehydrate faster in cold weather, stay hydrated and drink lots of water.
    • Stay hydrated.
    • Take frequent breaks away from cold temperatures.

Looking back at the coldest February temperatures on record for the Rio Grande Valley

Driving Safety

  • Give yourself extra time to make sure your vehicle is working properly.
    • A drop in temperatures can cause a drop in battery power.
    • Cold temperatures can cause a drop in tire pressure, so make sure to check your tire pressure before taking off during those cold mornings.
    • Check oil and antifreeze.

Also when driving and if temperatures are below freezing (below 32°), ice can form on bridges and overpasses. If driving when the outside temperature is 32 degrees or below, stay alert and slow down.