Officials share ways to prepare for incoming winter storm

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Officials with the Water Authority said freezing pipes are a real possibility and now is the time to winterize your home if you haven’t already.

It’s cold but it’s going to get a lot colder. Officials said every year they get calls from people needing emergency services because a pipe burst. They do not want you to be that person.

Officials said experts said 55 degrees is the minimum you should keep your house at during a freeze.

“We like to remind folks that when we do have these cold snaps, we get a lot of calls from folks who do have frozen pipes and so your wait times are going to take longer, and it’s going to take longer than it normally would to get someone out to do an emergency turn off,” said David Morris, public affairs manager for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

Morris said the planning you do ahead of an expected freeze could save you the headache and cost of pipe repairs later on.

“If you have anything that’s exposed to the open air, say in an attic or a crawl space or anything outdoors, like your faucets, your hose bibs. Get those things insulated so they can be protected against the cold,” he said.

If you have a sprinkler system, drain the water in the pipes and shut it down. If you have pipes that are next to an exterior wall, you might want to keep the cabinet doors open to all the warm air in your house to circulate those pipes.

If you’re not home, you might even want to leave a faucet dripping to prevent the pipes from freezing.

“Sometimes even the meters themselves will freeze up, that’s where dripping that faucet can help keep water flowing through the meter, so it doesn’t freeze,” said Morris.

If you have an emergency, you can call the Water Authority at 505-842-9287. But be prepared to wait. They are anticipating high call volumes.

KOB 4 talked to folks with the New Mexico Gas Company. They are monitoring the weather 24/7. Officials said they are not expecting any supply issues, they are prepared for this winter weather.

They’re hoping New Mexicans will prepare as well.

Making sure you have your necessities is the first step of preparing for a winter storm.

“There’s no limit to how pro go-bag we are,” said Brian Sayler, public information officer with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

“We think you should have a go-bag in your house, in your car, in your second car, in your desk at work. There’s really no time in which it’s not going to be helpful to have those absolute necessities.”

You’ll want blankets, jackets, non-perishable food and of course water, all on the ready at home or in your car.

If you have to drive, make sure your tank has plenty of gas in case something happens on the roads.

“Extra, extra, extra caution when driving because that is where, beyond power outages, in my personal experience that’s where things can get the most dangerous is when people aren’t recognizing those driving conditions,” said Sayler.

Sayler said preparation is key, that way you’re ready for whatever happens. Dial 511, you can double-check conditions on the roads around our state before you head out.

If you don’t have to get out, then stay home.

“There are so many steps, so many preparations steps that people can take to make things so much easier and faster and safer if disaster does strike,” said Sayler.

The same goes for your home. Stay warm, but take those necessary measures to stay safe.