Freeze Warnings: What they mean and what you need to do

February 12, 2021

Reading Time 2 Minutes, 4 Seconds

If you’re not from a region where freezes and frosts happen seasonally, you might be wondering what the fuss is all about. But the truth is that freezes can cause severe damage to homes, so taking the right steps ahead of time is very important. 

When and Why Freeze Warnings are Issued 

Freeze warnings are issues depending on how cold it’s expected to get and how long it’s expected to remain cold. Freezing and sub-freezing temperatures can be extremely dangerous to both humans and animals. When the National Weather Service forecasts freezing or sub-freezing temperatures expected to last a while, a Freeze Warning is issued. Under these conditions, the NWS expects cold weather to last for at least four hours. That means the temperature outside is likely to reach between 32-36F. 

So how can you prepare? 

During a freeze warning, pipes in your home have the potential to freeze. That means you need to take specific precautions to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

Open cabinet doors below the kitchen and bathroom sink to let warm air circulate. 

Leave a small trickle of water on overnight to keep the pipes warm.

These two steps can help keep water moving in your pipes, helping prevent them from freezing. It’s also a good idea to know where your emergency shutoff valve is located in the unfortunate event that your pipes do freeze. If you’re unsure where that shutoff valve is located, contact your local District Office for more information.  

This video gives a step-by-step how-to on what you need to do if your area is under a freeze warning. 

Don’t forget about your pets! 

During cold weather, you should also take special precautions to make sure your animals stay safe. 

Before you turn your car on in the morning, double-check that there isn’t an animal sleeping underneath it. Cats especially like to curl up with anything to stay warm and can slink under hoods. In addition to checking beneath the car, it’s a good idea to lift the hood too. 

Some animals can stay in cold weather longer than others. Long-haired cats and dog breeds do better than short-haired breeds.

Related: What’s the difference between a frost and a freeze? 

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