Amarillo, TX - The City of Amarillo has prepared for the severe winter weather this weekend and are warning all residents to stay inside.
The storm is expected to begin Saturday night and continue into Monday, dropping between 6 to 13 inches of snow. The snow will be accompanied by 35 to 45 mph winds, which city officials believe will make traveling dangerous.
"One of the big problems we're gonna have, it doesn't matter how much snow we get, when you've got 35 to 50 mph winds you've got zero visibility when that snow is blowing," said TxDOT spokesperson Paul Braun. "That is what is going to make traveling treacherous."
City officials want everyone to prepare for the storm ahead of time and stay indoors. Fire Chief Jeff Greenlee said drivers staying off the roadways makes it easier for first responders to do their jobs.
"When people get out and get stuck in the drifts not only does that place a bigger burden on us having to go respond to their needs but all the cars can also block our access to other emergencies as well," Greenlee said.
TxDOT has already started treating roadways.
"We have already done some pretreating of roadways and that means putting salt brine down," Braun said. "You probably see the lines white lines on the road, that is dried salt. When the precipitation starts that mixes with it and it prevents freezing, at least it helps to prevent freezing, so we've done that."
To keep the roads clear, street crews have their equipment prepared and are ready to salt, sand, and plow as soon as the storm begins. The Amarillo Police Department and Fire Department will be fully staffed to keep residents safe and respond to any calls for help.
Officials suggest getting out within the next two days and buying three-to-four-days-worth of any supplies needed such as food, water, blankets, candles and fire supplies.
Greenlee reminds residents not to use unapproved heating devices this weekend such as cook tops, because their open flames and carbon monoxide emissions cause health hazards. He said to also be cautious when using space heaters by keeping a three feet cleared space between the heater and any flammable items.
The landfill will be open on Saturday, and the city is planning to have an extra garbage truck to clear clutter from the holidays.
Van Hagan, Interim Director of Public Works, suggests separating all trash by putting any items that will decay outside in a garbage can. He says to leave all other items inside or in a garage.
Any residents flying out of Rick Husband International Airport Saturday night through Monday, are encouraged to check their website for flight delays and cancellations.
Visit these websites for any questions regarding travel, road closures or conditions, or emergency preparedness.
Xcel Energy : (800) 895-1999 or xcelenergy.com/outages
Rick Husband International Airport: http://airport.amarillo.gov
Amarillo National Weather Service at (806) 335-1121 or visit online at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama/
For road conditions:
Texas Panhandle: (806) 468-1488
Texas: http://www.drivetexas.org/ or (800) 452-9292
New Mexico: http://nmroads.com/ or (800) 432-4269
Oklahoma: http://www.dps.state.ok.us/cgi-bin/weathermap.cgi or (405) 425-2385
Colorado: http://www.cotrip.org/home.htm or (303) 639-1111
Kansas: http://511.ksdot.org/ or (800) 585-7623.