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For the first time in almost a year, officials urged Texans to stay home not due to the pandemic, but due to the freezing cold conditions sweeping across the country.


The "extreme cold" temperatures that have been looming overhead are in full swing, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press conference on Saturday, as he urged Texans to stay off the roads and conserve as much energy in their homes as possible over the course of the next week.

"It will be very dangerous driving on roadways the next few days," Abbott said.

With a disaster declaration in place in all 254 Texas counties, Abbott stressed that with over 1,000 roads covered in ice or snow, driving conditions will be "treacherous" for the next few days despite pre-treatment done on roads all across the state.

Texas has seen over 1,000 car wrecks resulting in 10 deaths since last Thursday. To patrol road conditions in all 25 Texas Department of Transportation regions, the Texas Department of Public safety has deployed over 3,000 troopers and the National Guard will be working 24/7.

Abbott said Texans should have a few collective goals over the next few days, primarily keeping ourselves and others safe by staying home.

"We as a state and everybody in this state should have several collective goals over the next few days, one of which should be that we will not replicate what happened in Fort Worth, Texas," Abbott said, referring to the 100-vehicle crash on I-35 this past week. "This is the kind of thing that every Texan has the capability of themselves being responsible for making sure does not happen and that is not getting out on the roads in a way that will cause you and cause others to be involved in traffic accidents.

In the event you do get stranded on the roads, Abbott said to immediately call the number on the back of your driver's license: (800) 525-5555.

As it is likely that many more people will be home than normal during the next week, officials are urging Texans to conserve electricity and gas in their homes. Abbott said on Monday and Tuesday, demand for energy is "expected to potentially exceed supply" with power outages and heaters on blast.

Officials outlined the best small changes residents can make to effectively conserve energy: keep your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, close blinds to avoid heat escaping, unplug unnecessary appliances and avoid using large appliances, like a washing machine or dishwasher, early in the morning when it is coldest.

Finally, officials cautioned residents to wrap their pipes and about the dangers of bursting pipes, which can flood a home after breaking and leaking water. Click here for a full list of ways to protect your home and pets.

Abbott urged Texans to pay attention to conditions around them and to heed warnings from local officials, noting that conditions are subject to change on roads.

"This is going to be a very challenging time for Texas and for Texans but it is a challenge that we know that our fellow Texans are up to," Abbott said. "If everyone follows the responsible steps that they themselves can control, we are going to get through this challenge in ways that reduce the loss of life that maximize our ability to access the power that we need."

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