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How to stay warm in extreme cold if your power goes out

Significant snowfall and dangerous cold is testing the power grid across the state. Here's what you can do if you're hit by a rolling outage or a prolonged one.

The snow and extreme cold has caused ERCOT to declare the highest level of energy emergency in the state of Texas.  Rolling outages for residential and business, but what does this mean?  

Oncor and other Texas utility providers have begun rotating electric outages to protect the electric grid. These typically last 15 to 45 minutes, but may vary depending on winter weather and conditions. Please continue to conserve energy to help along with the rolling outages. 

The wintry weather will also be accompanied by winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph possible, which could also result in tree breakage and downed power lines. 

This doesn't get better when this storm moves out because temperatures will reach record cold values tonight through Tuesday. The cold temperatures will result in record power demand, increasing the possibility of power outages.  

RELATED: 'Rotating outages' possible in next 72 hours as state officials urge Texans to conserve power due to extreme cold

These problems will only worsen with another midweek storm system that could bring another several inches of snow and ice to North Texas.  

So, what can you do if the power goes out for several hours? Here's how to stay safe in these dangerous conditions. 

Credit: WFAA
How to Keep Warm Without Power

If you lose power, do:

  • Close any blinds/curtains or put blankets or towels up to cover windows and provide insulation
  • Close off rooms to avoid losing heat
  • Stuff towels in cracks under doors, esp. exterior ones
  • Wear layers of loose fitting, warm clothing, especially warm socks and gloves if you have them
  • Eat and drink food to provide energy to warm the body but avoid alcohol or caffeine
  • If you have candles, lighting them can help act as a heat source, especially in an enclosed space. But do not rely on them, and remember to practice good fire safety.

Do not:

  • Under no circumstances should you bring a generator inside. They should remain 30 feet away from your home
  • Don't use a stove or oven for heat, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning

The winter weather won't last forever. Temperatures will emerge above freezing and conditions will rapidly improve Friday and into next weekend.  

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