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Schools closing or going virtual as precaution, blood banks need help

By Dawn Burleigh

One by one, schools announced closings for Monday.

Due to the upcoming inclement weather forecast, Bridge City ISD has made the decision to close Monday February 15, 2021 and return Tuesday February 16, 2021 with a delayed 10 a.m. start.

Out of an abundance of caution, in preparation for the inclement weather forecasted for the area next week, West Orange-Cove CISD will shift to remote/virtual learning for Monday and Tuesday, February 15 and 16.  Please stay tuned to District call-outs, district FB, Twitter, and local media for further updates. No staff will be reporting to the District.

If students experience power outages or technical difficulties during this time, are to communicate to their teacher upon return to the classroom.

Little Cypress-Mauriceville schools will go virtual on Monday and Tuesday, February 15 and 16.

According to LCM Superintendent Stacey Brister, “We would rather be safe than sorry, considering the possibility of buses, students and staff having to travel on icy roads to get to school.”

District offices will also be closed due to the severe weather expected to produce icy conditions. Please look for additional notifications from the LCM District for any updates that may occur. The information will be sent through School Messenger, media releases and posted on the District Facebook page.

No word from Orangefield ISD at press time.

Vidor ISD will be closed on Monday, February 15 due to weather concerns associated with extremely low temperatures.

School will resume with a 2 hour late start on Tuesday, February 16.  Elementary campuses will start at 9:30.  Middle School through high school will start at 10:15.

The winter storm predicted to arrive late on Sunday in Southeast Texas also cancelled blood drives resulting in a drastic shortage of blood and plasma donations.  While preparations are being made to protect homes, vehicles and pets from the incoming winter weather, LifeShare Blood Center in Beaumont is asking citizens to also add donating blood to their to-do list.

Before travel conditions become hazardous, LifeShare implores eligible donors to give blood, plasma or platelets as soon as possible.

“It’s important to remember that regardless of the weather, thousands of people in our region are depending on the blood, plasma and platelets we collect in order to save lives.  This is especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” says LifeShare’s Regional Director in Beaumont, Brooke Hulett.

Hospitals will still be operational and treating patients before, during and after severe weather.

The Beaumont Center will be open Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. and blood drives are scheduled in several Southeast Texas communities.  Walk in or schedule an appointment at www.lifeshare.org/give.

Roads are also expected to experience ice during the storm.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging Texans along the Gulf Coast region to prepare for severe winter weather.

Dangerous winter weather can come in the form of freezing precipitation and ice. During icy conditions, roads, bridges and elevated structures will likely be impacted.

DPS urges motorists to pay attention to quickly changing weather conditions and prepare for possible road and bridge closures.

Since we expect to see bitter cold weather conditions through next week, here are some driving tips:

 

  • Remember to listen to local authorities and first responders whose mission is to keep us safe while working in sometimes adverse conditions.
  • Patience is a virtue and that’s especially important during severe weather. Leave earlier and driver slower since tires lose some traction during rainy and icy conditions.
  • Slow down as you approach bridges and overpasses as they often freeze first.
  • Brake cautiously since sudden braking can cause steering issues. For vehicles with anti-lock brakes, apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal.
  • Visibility in foggy and rainy conditions are increased at night or on roads that are not well lit. Headlights, wipers and defrosters can help make your drive safer.
  • Turning off the cruise control under foggy, rainy or icy conditions is recommended since the driver is better equipped to control and react to road conditions. 

 

Bottom line, consider staying off the road during severe weather. Reduce the risk of accident by simply waiting to get on the road when the weather conditions improve, according to Insurance Council of Texas (ITC).

Your auto insurance policy may include coverage for accidents stemming from weather related claims. Talk to your agent or insurance company to discuss your coverages.

  • Damages from accidents that involve two or more drivers, caused by slippery roads are generally covered under the liability portion of the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy or the optional collision coverage portion of your auto insurance policy
  • Damages from accidents that occur when a driver crashes into another object, like a guard rail or center divider are covered under the optional collision portion of an insurance policy
  • Damage to a vehicle caused by flooding, fallen ice or fallen tree limbs are covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, over 70% of U.S. vehicle owners opt to carry both collision and/or comprehensive coverage. The Texas Department of Insurance also notes that Texas insurers paid over $14 billion for private passenger auto losses in 2019; the insurance industry stands ready to help.

“Texans face a myriad of weather events. According to NOAA, in 2019, Texas had 1,985 severe weather reports placing us in the #1 spot in the nation. Reviewing your coverages today – whether auto, home, or renters will help protect you and your family’s financial recovery tomorrow,” says Camille Garcia, ICT Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

 

The more significant winter precipitation event is expected on Monday. This will be a mixed bag of rain, sleet and freezing rain. It is too early to say with any certainty how much ice we will see, or exactly who will see it. We will provide updates through the weekend on this tricky weather forecast. Check orangeleader.com for updates on the weather as they are made available.

Entergy is prepping for potential outages.

“This storm could quickly result in ice forming on trees and power lines, which may cause power outages,” said Michael Considine, vice president of customer service. “Entergy is preparing now by staging crews in strategic locations for quick response, including the use of additional resources from outside the state. They are equipped with the material necessary to repair broken poles and downed lines as soon as it’s safe to do so and will continue the work until power is restored to all our customers.

“It is unclear how severe the damage may be, but customers should be prepared to be without power in dangerously cold weather,” he continued, “as we also have more safety protocols in place due to COVID-19, which may extend the time necessary for restoration. We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, and we ask that our customers do the same.  We have several ways to help our customers weather the storm with access to the most current information at their fingertips.”