Mon December 10, 2012
Power Outages, Freeze Warning & Wind Advisory for Central Texas
It’s a windy, chilly morning. There’s a wind advisory in effect for all of South Central Texas until noon today. A freeze warning is in place starting at 11 p.m.
The cold weather is moving across Texas, even bringing some snow to the Dallas area this morning.
The wind was a factor in power outages that left more than 3,400 Austin Energy customers in the dark this morning. Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark says damage to a pole knocked out power to about 2,300 customers around Brodie Lane and William Cannon Drive. Clark expected power to be restored to about 70 percent of those customers by 7:30 a.m.
More than 1,000 customers in the Barton Hills neighborhood also lost power this morning.
If you have sensitive outdoor plants, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time today getting them ready for tonight’s expected freeze.
If you’re going to cover plants, don’t use plastic.
“Burlap, or a sheet, or a light blanket. Something that won’t weigh the plant down but also won’t stick to the plant and make the leaves stay most," Daphne Richards, county extension agent for horticulture at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office for Travis County, says.
Richards says if the leaves stick to a plastic cover, they’ll begin to rot.
Plant covers should be held down with bricks or rocks to keep wind from getting underneath. Wind dries plants out and can increase the damage from frost. But Richards says it's important to also include some soil underneath the cover.
"The soil is going to radiate heat that it's built up during the day in the sunlight and that will help keep the plant warm," Richards says. "It's only going to be a few degrees warmer than it would be if you didn't do that but that few degrees will bring the temperature up below freezing."
Some plants and trees have been confused by the unusually warm weather so far this season. But, Richards says, if your plants have begun to bloom, don't prune them until they're completely dormant – probably late December or early January.