By Sydney Matthews | Staff Writer
Baylor is shifting to online instruction for all of Tuesday through Wednesday morning as the temperature continues to drop significantly and Waco could potentially be under icy conditions overnight.
Baylor sent a “Baylor Alert” announcing campus will shift to remote instruction and telework all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
“With the National Weather Service placing Central and North Texas under a Winter Storm Warning — with the potential for icy conditions in our area beginning overnight — Baylor University-Waco campus will hold classes via remote instruction and staff will telework on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2023,” the alert said.
The alert also said classes would resume to in-person instruction beginning 12:20 p.m. but road conditions may be hazardous as there is expectation to be ice-related conditions.
“We strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary,” the alert said.
With the weather being unexpected the next few days, there are ways to prepare to ensure safety and comfort this week.
“There are four P’s that you have to worry about in the cold. People, pets, plants and pipes,” Dr. Trey Cade, director for Baylor’s Institute for Air Science and has a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, said.
In extreme cold conditions, it is important to wrap outdoor pipes and insulate doors and windows. Some ways to do this are by wrapping newspaper and plastic or towels around external pipes and at the base of doors and windows. This will prevent pipe bursts and keep heat inside the home, the McLennan County Emergency website said.
“I always keep my apartment’s heat onto at least 65 degrees to make sure the pipes in my house don’t get too cold. I also use antifreeze whenever necessary,” Reese Payson, Needles, Calif., sophomore, said.
Icy road conditions can make traveling by vehicle dangerous. Being prepared to stay off of the roads will help keep yourself and others safe in unexpected cold weather.
“In Texas, we don’t get as cold as northern states. So, the times that we get below freezing people aren’t as prepared for those situations,” Cade said. “We tend to get more ice than snow when our temperatures drop to below freezing, making it more hazardous for road travel.”
According to McLennan County Emergency Management, making sure your car is in good condition, including fuel levels, brakes and ignition system is necessary in cold conditions to prevent damage to your car. Preparing materials such as food and other items you may need will prevent individual from having to drive in unsafe conditions.
“I never drive when the roads could be unsafe; I make sure to go to the grocery store beforehand so that I am not in a situation where I will need to drive,” Payson said.
In cold weather, the risk for power outages becomes greater. Cade said power outages can happen unexpectedly, so having materials to keep warm and a plan for if that occurs will help.
“When there are large amounts of ice, there is more of a risk for power outages because it can bring down powerlines or branches,” Cade said. “Having adequate food and having a gas stove is important in that scenario. Also, if you have a fireplace, make sure that it has proper ventilation.”
Even though Texas weather can change suddenly, Cade said it is important to have proper clothing for cold weather especially during the next few days and going into the month of February.
“I always have a warm jacket, gloves and a hat to keep myself warm. I also check the weather every day before heading to class to make sure I will be comfortable outside,” Payson said. “Although the weather here changes all of the time, it is easy to stay prepared.”