Northerners share tips with Texans on how to stay safe and warm during the winter power outage

Northerners are taking to social media to offer tips on how to handle extreme cold during power outages as pleas for help are coming from countless homes in Texas where the power remains off after a huge winter storm — and there are no clear answers from those in charge about when it will be back on.

Winter power outages can be dangerous for those unprepared for intense cold. To help minimize risk, Twitter users are sharing basic safety tips with Southerners not accustomed to these temperatures.

Hey Northerners, I know we’ve been getting these jokes off but with the rolling blackouts we should probably help people in Texas etc figure out how to stay warm when their indoor temps drop. Layers, blankets, human cuddle puddles all the tips you have on hand.

Stay warm

If you have no heat source during a power outage, block any openings around doors and windows, author Mikki Kendall said in a Twitter post. Gather in one room if you can and settle into your blankets, pillows, everything cozy that you have. If you don’t have carpet use towels or a blanket under you and over you.”

Here are some tips to stay warm in the event that you lose power! #dfwwx #ctxwx #texomawx #etxwx #abilene

A user from New England explained why locking the windows as opposed to just closing them can help with staying warm: “Window locks press the window into the frame, and make sure no cold air gets through the gaps.”

He also recommended “snuggling up”: “3 kids or 2 adults per blanket. Pets count as kids. Body heat is crazy efficient. Go head-to-toe if you’re not on snuggling terms with your blanket buddy.” 

The same user said to use a towel to “plug up the gap under the door to the basement. That way the coldest air in the house stays where it belongs.”

All of this. Also, keep your core warm. Hold hot drinks against your heart. It sounds weird, but it does help. Keeping your core warm is so, so important.

“Walk around every so often. You don’t have to do a lot of exercises but walking around for a few minutes every so often will help keep your circulation flowing well and will keep you warm. You need your circulation flowing,” said one user “from the North.” The user also included warming center locations in Austin, Texas, in the thread. 

Stay safe

The Centers for Disease Control said to keep generators dry and at least 20 feet away from any window, door or vent as they can release poisonous carbon monoxide if you use them inside your home. They also advise not to use generators, camp stoves, charcoal grills, gas grills or similar appliances inside the house: The fumes can be deadly.

So far, there have been more than 300 carbon monoxide poisoning cases in Harris County alone, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Additionally,, the U.S. government’s online disaster planning resource, says stoves or ovens should not be used to heat up homes.

“DO NOT: bring a generator inside. ever. EVER. and don’t run it in your garage, either. generators have to run 30 ft away from your home; most northerners know this, but we can’t expect southerners to,” wrote one user who says they have lived “thorough many, many power outages in negative temps.” 


11. Finally, be aware of the signs of hypothermia, and save your phone battery for an emergency. Listen for frozen pipes bursting, but DO NOT GET WET investigating.

There you go. Stay safe out there.

No running the car in the garage, no using the propane or coal barbecue in an enclosed space. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is the biggest killer during power failures.

Keep water pipes intact

To prevent water pipes from freezing or breaking in low temperatures, the CDC recommends turning all water faucets on just enough to allow a continuous drip and keeping cabinet doors under sinks open to allow any warm air from the room to reach the pipes.

-turn on ALL your faucets so a teeny, tiny drip is going. trust me. you DO NOT want your pipes to burst in negative temps. it is an actual nightmare. someone on my tl was worried about wasting water but you will waste a lot more if you flood your house lol

Stay fed and hydrated

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends not opening your fridge or freezer during the power outage to keep your food cold. Instead, use food that doesn’t require refrigeration or use coolers with ice. Food in fridges can stay good for about four hours without power and a freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours. But don’t drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, the CDC warns — they cause your body to lose heat faster.

Remember to eat & drink water!! Your body needs fuel to keep you warm and becoming dehydrated will not help you.

“Food wise, you have to eat even if it’s just snacks. Hydration matters too. If you can’t make warm food or drinks? Go for the easiest things you have on hand & don’t worry about it being healthy. The calories matter, not the content,” Mikki Kendall wrote on her Twitter thread.

If you have a cooler, put things from your fridge in it once a day so that you can otherwise keep the fridge closed. If it is freezing outside, you can also put your freezer items there for the meantime.

Wool socks on your hands will be better than gloves.

Stay home

You will be safer indoors during a winter power outage, according to the CDC. In the event that you have to go outside, the Houston Office of Emergency Management recommends wearing at least at least three layers of tops, an outer layer, two layers of bottoms and waterproof boots. Constant shivering is an important first sign that your body is losing heat and it is time to go inside.

“If you HAVE to drive anywhere, keep an emergency kit in your car. Blanket, flashlight, extra coat, some food, and if you have it, cat litter. It works like salt and breaks down the ice/snow if you get stuck.,” Kilee DeBrabander of Michigan tweeted.

If you have to go out, I know it’s cold, but it’s not super dangerous, temperature-wise. Layer up! But be smart about it. You want layers that will keep you warm, but not so many layers your mobility is limited (inability to move = harder to generate your own warmth)

“Winter storm tips from a Canadian living in Texas pt 1: just because the snow looks fluffy and harmless on pathways or the road doesn’t mean it’s safe- there is very likely a layer of slippery AF ice underneath it. Move cautiously!” actress Barbara Dunkelman wrote.

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