TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The City of Tyler has announced how it is getting ready for possible winter weather conditions this week.
The city also has a 2021 Cold Weather Plan and will take additional measures to keep people safe and ensure the city continues to operate despite the weather.
The Lake Palestine Pump Station and Water Treatment Plant have two large generators for backup power. These generators have been serviced quarterly. The facilities will do a complete full load test run, switching the equipment to operate on the generators alone prior to a storm event to ensure a smooth transition in the event of a power failure.
Tyler Water Services has purchased additional portable heaters to prevent priority valves and chemical supplies from freezing. Crews and contractors will be on standby during winter weather conditions to assist with water line breaks and other emergency work that may occur.
“We have worked with Oncor and the Public Utility Commission of Texas to identify our critical load water and wastewater facilities to ensure they will be prioritized in case of a power failure,” said Tyler Water Utilities Director Kate Dietz. “We’ve also added additional water treatment chemical storage and we will conduct a complete load test of each generator prior to any severe winter weather to ensure we are prepared for another severe winter weather event.”
Chemical storage for water treatment will be filled prior to a winter weather event. Each plant has sufficient chemical storage for a 15 day supply at design capacity.
East Texans can also receive weather updates through downloading our East Texas Storm Team app. You can view Futurecast, and set up custom alerts for multiple locations. You will be notified of lightning and storm alerts, rotating storm threats, and custom messages from your East Texas Storm Team. Download for Apple and Android devices. Also, have a secondary way to receive weather information, like a NOAA Weather Radio.
All Tyler Fire stations are equipped with generators, tire chains for fire trucks and supplemental four-wheel drive vehicles so firefighters may respond to any incidents during a weather event.
The Fire Department is also coordinating with different churches and other locations that can be used as warming centers. The City is prepared to open a physical Emergency Operations Center if necessary.
Both Tyler Police stations have backup generators. All newer vehicles feature four-wheel drive. The department also has portable generators that will be available for other facilities or traffic lights as needed.
The department also purchased snow clips for officers’ shoes to minimize slipping and accidents as well as deicer, scrapers and chains for all police cars.
The Tyler Street Department has stockpiled deicer and sanding material for roadways.
If there are inclement weather conditions, the department will focus on clearing bridges, overpasses and the hospital district. All State Highways within the city are handled by the Texas Department of Transportation and usually follow I20 and Loop 49 in priority. Smaller residential roads will not be sanded or deiced. See list of sanding routes attached.
“The goal during a multi-day freeze is not to restore full access to roads, especially secondary neighborhood roads. The more drivers on the road creates melt that will then re-freeze at night, turning into black ice which is more dangerous,” said Streets Department Leader Sara McCracken. “It is important to stress that the roads are sanded for emergency vehicles and first responders and that, during extreme freezes, our request will always be that residents avoid driving on them.”
Motorists should watch carefully for and stay at least 200 feet behind snow removal equipment. The City’s Arborist has identified trees that will need to be trimmed or removed before an extreme weather event to minimize roadblocks and accidents. The list prioritizes trees that would be most dangerous.
The Tyler Traffic Department has a total of eight generators that will be used to power traffic lights in critical intersections if power is lost.
“Signalized intersections with updated communications will assist staff in identifying power outages in real-time,” said Traffic Engineer Cameron Williams. “It will also allow for quicker updates to the public and help deploy resources more efficiently.”
Transit and Solid Waste
If fixed routes and paratransit services are canceled due to iced roads, the Tyler Transit Department will coordinate with NDMJ Transportation to continue serving dialysis patients and taking residents to warming centers. Service alerts will be reported to residents through social media and the City’s website.
Tyler Solid Waste Department will pause residential and commercial collections if roads are not safe and will resume once the freeze is over.