How to prepare for sub-freezing temperatures Subscribe Now News & Headlines

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Ahead of the anticipated sub-freezing temperatures expected to sting the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, residents should protect themselves along with their pets, plants and pipes.

The National Weather Service has issued a hard freeze warning for early Thursday morning and another freeze warning for Friday morning.

Low temperatures are expected to drop down into the mid-20s in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys starting around 1 a.m. Thursday. The NWS said sub-freezing temperatures could stick around for hours early Thursday.

A freeze warning has been issued for Friday from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. when temperatures could dip down as low as 28 degrees.

So what’s the best way to prepare for the frigid mornings?

No matter what, the NWS says layers are key, so be sure to bundle up.

Make sure kids have a warm spot to wait for the bus to school.

For those who are unhoused, warming centers have opened up in the region. Sacramento County and the city have both announced multiple locations where people without shelter can find a warm place to stay during the coldest hours of the day.

According to the NWS, residents should be ready to protect their elderly loved ones, as well as pets and livestock. That means making sure animals are not exposed to the cold and have enough food and water.

Frozen pipes can quickly become a costly problem, so it’s important to be ready ahead of time.

According to the NWS, outdoor water pipes should be “wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly.”

The American Red Cross recommends draining outdoor hoses and sprinkler supply lines, then storing hoses in a warmer place. Never use antifreeze in those water lines, as it is harmful to the environment and dangerous for people and animals.

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Above ground pipes should be covered, the NWS said. For some exposed pipes, newspaper can be used as a quick insulation fix.

” … Even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing,” the Red Cross writes.

Be sure to close garage doors if water supply lines are inside. For kitchens and bathrooms, leave cabinet doors open so the warm air can move around plumbing. Just be sure all household chemicals are out of reach if children and pets are around.

If faucets are served by exposed pipes, turn on the cold water and let it continuously drip through the line.

Keeping homes warm, even if no one is around, is also key. The Red Cross says to try to keep the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees and keep it at the same temperature throughout the day and night.

At 32 degrees and colder, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says outdoor plants are at risk of damage or death.

Well before the sun sets for the day, lightly water plants then cover them.

“I usually go out when it’s 40 degrees so my plants have still been kept covered. But when it’s getting into the lower 30s, definitely go out and cover your plants,” said Greg Gayton with Green Acres.

Nurseries will normally have what’s called row cover, which is made of non-woven polyester, that is designed to protect plants from frost. Blankets, drop cloths and medium-weight fabric are also good alternatives. Be sure not to use plastic.

Whatever is covering plants should be draped loosely and secured to the ground. The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends trying to avoid resting covers directly on plants.

“Hot caps” can be placed over smaller plants, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says. Cut the bottoms off recycled milk or soda bottles to make them or use paper bags or newspaper to tent small plants.

But not all plants need protection. Gayton said succulents, citrus plants and winter vegetables are some of the plants that need it. Those experiencing new growth are also vulnerable to the cold.

Once the sun is out again during mid-morning, uncover plants so they can be exposed to the warmth of the day.

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