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Electric grid vulnerable in severe winter storm, ERCOT reports. Here’s how to prepare your home

Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 10:13 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the winter storm that killed more than 200 Texans. It spurred government intervention into the state’s power grid. A new assessment report from ERCOT shows it is prepared for typical weather patterns, but there could be major challenges to the grid again if we experience another major winter storm.

Clint Thetford with the Lubbock County Texas Emergency Management said everyone should keep a “grab bag” full of canned food, medications, food for pets and drinkable water.

“Battery operated radios, maybe flashlights, just those key things that you know that you would need if the power went out, or whether it from winter weather or even severe weather we’re not that far from Spring either. So, we could have those tornadoes and things so but a basic kit,” Thetford said.

Thetford says the best case scenario would be for a family to invest in a whole house emergency generator with automatic switchover panels.

“You need to make sure you have some type of a switchover panel, that you could plug the generator in and switch off of the power grid over to your emergency generator to power your house, or whether you’re just going to power you know, certain items within your house like a furnace or things like that,” Thetford said.

Thetford said a small portable generator would suffice, but it needs to remain outside of the home or you could suffer carbon monoxide poisoning.

“So you got to be extremely cautious when you use those type of heating in your, in your home,” Thetford said.

Last February, Texans also lost their city water supply due to low water pressure. Lubbockites should prepare by filling up bathtubs and large containers with water for flushing.

Thetford says wells are also at-risk water supplies.

“At least it stays at least 50 degrees in my wheelhouse. And that’s above freezing. So it keeps it from freezing and causing me all the problems that I need. Now if I lose power, then I have to devolve back to my backup plan and bottled water or you know stored water things like that,” Thetford said.

To stay up to date on the latest weather emergencies, keep up with KCBD Weather coverage.

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