North Texas Prepares for Frigid Start to 2018

Cities across North Texas are already getting ready for the big chill this holiday weekend.

From the roads, to homes, to shelters, people are preparing for sub-freezing temperatures.

NBC 5 Meteorologist Keisha Burns forecasts temperatures to fall from the mid 30s to the upper 20s Sunday. With that, showers and areas of drizzle will transition to freezing drizzle and a few flurries to the northwest and continuing into North Texas Sunday.

Check here for updates to the NBC 5 Forecast.

The latest video forecast from NBC DFW's team of Weather Experts will appear in the player above. Keep up with the latest changes to the weather by downloading the NBC DFW smartphone App for iOS and Android!

Local Area Shelters

The Salvation Army Shelter in Dallas normally opens during the evening and overnight hours, but because temperatures are remaining cold during the day, the shelter is staying open around the clock until there's a warm-up.

They're prepared to open a gym to give more people a place to stay.

With potential icy weather in North Texas, TxDOT and NTTA crews spent much of the week crisscrossing interstates and highways getting ready. They have now switched into high gear.

Preparing North Texas Roads, Highways

The Texas Department of Transportation is also preparing for the possibility of icy conditions. Crews have pre-treated bridges and overpasses, with 300 people working 12 hour shifts through the duration of the winter weather event.

Treatments started last week when it was warmer but crews are switching into high gear, adding brine to trouble areas.

Fort Worth TxDOT crews are handling nine counties including Tarrant, Parker and Wise Counties -- they've been focused on overpasses and bridges.

"Right now, they've been focusing a lot on the bridges and overpasses because those will freeze the first, then they will continue with the highways," said Natalie Galindo with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Dallas's TxDOT office covers seven counties including Dallas, Collin, Denton and Ellis. They've been treating main lanes and bridges.

Meanwhile the North Texas Tollway Authority has 51 trucks that will patrol toll roads starting Saturday night.

Crews treating the roads ask that drivers give them plenty of space.

"Just make sure you stay back at least 200 feet from them because the brine that they are using can possibly get on your vehicle," said Galindo.

If ice does form, TxDOT crews will switch from brine to some combination of salt, sand and magnesium chloride depending on the severity and the need for vehicle traction.

The NTTA says 51 trucks are scheduled to patrol the entire NTTA System starting Saturday to treat isolated slick spots.

Hardware stores have been busy with people protecting their pipes and plants against the frigid weather.

Pets, Pipes and Plants

Pet owners are reminded to bring in their pets.

Hardware stores have been busy. Homeowners are buying faucet and pipe covers to make sure they don't freeze and burst.

Experts say preparing for the cold now can save you hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars down the line.

There are some crucial steps to make sure your pipes don't burst like insulating exposed pipes and unhooking the outside hose from your house.

"Because if there's water in the hose, it can freeze up into the pipe and freeze the pipe wherever it goes," said Ben Friedman, vice president of Atlas Plumbing.

Both inside and out, it's all about the drip.

"If you have a single handle like this, you're going to want to put it in the middle because it's got a mixing valve inside there. So you're just going to want to drip it," said Friedman. "As long as the water's flowing through the pipes, there's less chance of it actually forming into ice."

Plumbers say you'll know if your pipes are frozen if no water comes out of the tap when you turn it on. "If you turn the water on and break up the ice inside of the pipe, you could expand the copper or plastic pipe, which will then create a crack or rupture and all of that pressure will run out of that opening," said Friedman.

Once the pipes rupture, damage can be costly.

"You're going to have to pay for a plumber, you might have to redo your drywall, it could mess up your carpet, if you have wood floors. So, really, the simplest steps can really go a long way to help keep your home protected," said Meaghan Callahan, manager of Elliot's Hardware in Dallas.

If you're concerned about your plants, experts say just like pipes, you need to cover them.

"You're going to take this and layer it over the beds that you have," said Mark Ruibal. "It's not heavy enough it's going to damage them, but being that it's cotton, it's going to let the air come through and a little bit of light, but it'll keep them a whole bunch warmer during the course of the freeze."

And new plantings need extra attention.

"Anything that's brand new. Anything you've put in recently," said Ruibal. "For instance, any of the shrubs and things that you might have just planted in the last month, and then any of your color."

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