Winter storm Uri brings snow to North Texas. But it also brings special dangers.

Winter Storm Uri’s first snowfall across Tarrant County began early Sunday morning, with the heaviest…

Winter Storm Uri’s first snowfall across Tarrant County began early Sunday morning, with the heaviest of the precipitation expected across most of the county from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow could continue into Monday, with between 3 and 6 inches expected across the region. Dallas and Fort Worth are likely to see 3-4 inches.

The continent-spanning winter storm has brought snow, icy roadways and record low temperatures to America, Canada and Mexico.

The storm is expected to bring dangerous temperatures to North Texas from Sunday to Tuesday, with wind chill values below zero degrees. Dangers of hypothermia and frost bite will become increasingly concerning as wind chill values and temperatures continue to drop, according to the National Weather Service.

MedStar in Fort Worth is prioritizing any calls relating to people outside, according to a news release.

The National Weather Service and MedStar have issued some tips for surviving this dangerous weather.

Staying warm with no power, and outdoors

Risks of power outages will increase as snowfall and possible heavy winds continue through the early part of the week.

  • The National Weather Service advises people who lose power to close blinds and curtains to contain the heat. Placing towels, blankets or rags underneath doors to keep hot air from escaping though gaps can also help maintain heat.

  • Try to eat and drink regularly so your body will continue producing heat, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. Wearing layers of loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothes can help you stay warm by trapping body heat around you.

  • Finally, closing doors to all rooms can help avoid wasting heat.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use as much as possible Sunday through Tuesday, according to a news release.

“We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. “At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units. We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time.”

Here are some tips to reduce electricity use:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees.

  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.

  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).

  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Given the prolonged, below-freezing temperatures, conservation measures should be implemented safely and within reason, If power reserves drop too low, ERCOT may need to declare an Energy Emergency Alert, which allows the grid operator to take advantage of additional resources that are only available during scarcity conditions. There are three levels of alerts, and rotating power outages are only implemented as a last resort to maintain reliability of the electric system, the release said.

When outdoors, follow these tips to prevent hypothermia and frostbite:

  • Wear gloves/mittens, hats, scarves and snow boots. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing, and cover your face and mouth if possible.

  • Stay dry, and if you become wet, remove wet clothing immediately.

  • Limit your time outdoors.

  • Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

Driving safely

A 100-car pileup in Fort Worth on Thursday before sunrise left six dead and underlined the dangers of driving on icy roads.

The National Weather Service urges people to avoid driving unless they absolutely have to. Roads are already packed with ice and snow, the service warned.

As of 7:30 a.m Sunday, MedStar in Fort Worth responded to six major vehicle collisions on all area highways since midnight, according to a release from the ambulance service.

  • For folks who do have to get out on roads in the coming days, driving slowly and leaving plenty of space between you and other vehicles can save your life.

  • Accelerate slowly from a full stop. If you have the ability to select your gear, the National Weather Service advises starting from second gear. If your vehicle begins to skid, gently steer into the skid direction to get your vehicle back under control.

  • Stay calm and resist the urge to jerk the steering wheel in the other direction.

  • Take blankets, water, jumper cables, a tow cable and a flashlight with you in case you become stranded. Bringing along sand, kitty litter or cardboard can give you traction you need if you get stuck.

Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is increasingly risky when people are using gas to heat their homes.

To avoid poisoning, which can lead to death, MedStar said nobody should use stoves or ovens to heat their homes.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in the bloodstream, replacing oxygen. It leads to tissue damage and possibly death. Because carbon monoxide is colorless and naturally odorless and tasteless, making it hard to detect.

Do not sit in a tightly sealed or small space with a space heater, stove, oven or any kind of engine that is gas-powered. That increases your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to MedStar.

Watch out for the signs and symptoms:

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

  • Dull headache

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Shortness of breath

  • Confusion

  • Blurred vision

  • Loss of consciousness

Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working and keep a batter powered detector near every area where your sleep. Check detectors regularly to make sure they are working and never use a gas-powered generator indoors.

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