KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Temperatures are anticipated to get down in the teens and even single digits this weekend after a wintry mix in East Tennessee, according to the WATE 6 Storm Team. Daytime highs for Saturday are expected to be around freezing before dropping to 16° Fahrenheit in Knoxville and around 6°F atop Mt. LeConte. Temperatures won’t get above freezing until Sunday.
“It will be the coldest of our winter season so far,” 6 Storm Team Meteorologist Justin Kiefer says of the weekend weather.
Homeowners, renters, pet owners and plant parents alike could consider the following reminders for protecting their pipes, pets or plants amid the winter weather. The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) says the more temperatures drop, the greater the risk to lives and property.
Protecting your pipes
With a recent winter weather snap earlier this month, WATE 6 News reached out to local experts who work in the heating and plumbing industries. A master plumber shared the most common call they receive after winter weather blows through is that the water isn’t coming out of the sinks. To prevent that, he advised to first make sure garden hoses are taken off the spigots, then cover the spigots with insulation.
It’s also important to check the house for any exposed pipes; some are found in the attic or crawl space. Insulation isn’t enough to keep those exposed pipes warm – so use heat tape that can be found at any local home service store.
Another safety measure to take is letting the faucets closest to the outside or exposed pipes drip warm water the night before a freeze.
Protecting your pets
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that pet owners bring their pets indoors or provide adequate shelter amid freezing or below freezing winter weather. Also make sure your pets have access to unfrozen water.
Young-Williams Animal Center also says to keep pets indoors if temps are below freezing. But if you absolutely must leave pets outside for a limited amount of time, provide your pets with a shelter for them to retreat to that should be dry, draft-free and well insulated.
“Recognize that some pets may need extra protection. This includes senior pets, puppies and dogs with shorter coats. Take them for shorter walks outdoors. You may also consider adding extra insulation, such as a dog sweater or footies,” the animal center said.
Protecting your plants
Overall, protecting your plants is a must when the temperatures drop below freezing.
WATE 6 Storm Team Meteorologist Victoria Cavaliere visited Mayo Garden Centers in February 2020 to discuss protecting outdoor plants when temperature readings fall below the freezing mark.
The best advice is: Remember to either bring your plants inside or cover them with a light cloth or plastic. Although it does depend on what kind of plants you have, a few cold nights will likely not cause significant damage.
Stanley’s Greenhouse has also shared advice on what to do for certain types of plants. Trees, perennials and shrubs will likely thrive, while plants like flowers and fruit trees may not survive. Stanley’s said people can buy the bales of straw and shred that over top of them and cloth, anything like that will help plants survive.
Additional tips for winter weather preparedness
The CDC also says if you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, make sure your chimney or flue has been inspected. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.
If you or a loved one are over 65 years old, the CDC says to place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Our ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.