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Forecasters expect more significant ice buildup today across the greater Austin and Hill Country region, making already dangerous roads even more treacherous.
Thousands of Austinites lost power early Wednesday as a result of ice causing various problems, including falling tree limbs onto power lines. The number of customers without power continues to rise, with more than 100,000 reported by Austin Energy as of 7:40 a.m.
austin fire said have responded to more than 75 calls related to arc flashes and that several stations have also lost power.
Here’s what we know about road conditions, today’s forecast, and power outages:
Winter Storm Warning for Austin:This is what you should be concerned about
9:45 am: The heaviest ice round is over
The major round of freezing rain from this storm that hit the Austin metropolitan area Wednesday morning has moved out of the region, according to the National Weather Service.
There is still a chance of drizzle and freezing rain, which could become a mix of cold rain or sleet, as temperatures are expected to exceed freezing Wednesday afternoon. However, the winter weather mix could return Wednesday night with a further chance of freezing rain through early Thursday morning.
Temperatures are expected to exceed freezing Thursday morning and hit 40 degrees by afternoon. There is also a slight chance of rain throughout the day.
The winter storm warning is still scheduled to end at 6 a.m. Thursday.
More:Affected by the Austin, Texas power outages? Here’s what you can do to stay safe
Austin Energy says power will be restored ‘quickly’
Austin Energy spokesman Matt Mitchell said crews are dispatched and working to restore power as quickly as possible. He added that each blackout is unique and that some repairs will take longer than others, especially as treacherous road conditions make it difficult to navigate the city. Temperatures could be above freezing for a few hours Wednesday afternoon, helping crews fix outages faster.
utility company tweeted Outages are widespread and some customers may see outages for 12-24 hours.
Ice can cause tree limbs and other vegetation to freeze, break, and fall onto power lines, causing massive power outages.
If you do lose power, follow this advice from Mitchell: Don’t panic, stay inside, keep all windows and doors closed, unplug appliances and heaters, layer up, grab some blankets, and wait for power to be restored.
Also, do not use portable stoves, ovens, or grills to heat your home, as it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning that can result in hospitalization or death. If you have a generator, make sure it is in a well-ventilated area before using it.
While many in the region may have memories of the winter storm Uri that caused massive power outages for days, this storm is not expected to be that bad, and Mitchell said power will be restored as the weather warms during the next 24 hours.
“We as a utility understand that those memories are still very fresh,” Mitchell said. “This is not it. Our crews are in place, we are executing a plan, and we will restore power safely and quickly.”
More:Frozen trees, icy roads and power outages: See the damage in Austin during the winter storm
Power Outages in Central Texas
Austin Energy reports a large number of power outages affecting up to 80,000 customers at one point early Wednesday morning. The company tweeted that extreme weather, mainly ice, is causing power outages and that crews are being dispatched and working to restore power.
Thousands of Pedernales Electric Cooperative customers in Central Texas and the Hill Country are also without electric power.
10:30 am – Nearly 146,000 Austin Energy customers lost power due to 549 active outages affecting nearly 27% of customers.
8:45 a.m.: Oncor reports that 16,127 customers in Williamson County, 6,446 in Travis County and 1,054 in Bastrop County do not have power.
8:10 am: 125,000 customers are without power, as 422 active outages cause nearly 24% of Austin Energy customers to lose power. Meanwhile, nearly 3,100 Pedernales customers in Williamson and western Travis County are without power.
7:40 am: 21% of Austin Energy customers are without power as a result of 367 outages, affecting more than 113,000. Nearly 11,000 Pedernales customers and more than 240,000 statewide are also without power.
6:36 a.m.: 294 active outages resulting in nearly 85,000 Austin Energy customers losing power. Throughout the region, more than 6,000 Pedernales clients are without power, while 197,000 in the state do not have power.
6:00 am: The number of Austin Energy customers without power continues to rise, as 204 outages are causing nearly 67,000 customers to lose power.
5:50 am: Across Texas, approx. 161,500 clients they are powerless.
5:43 am: More than 56,000 Austin Energy customers are without power due to nearly 190 outages across the region affecting 89% of customers.
5:43 am: Nearly 2,900 Pedernales customers from Round Rock to Kyle to San Marcos to Dripping Springs are without power.
Weather Tips:Here’s how to stay out of the ER during this winter storm
Austin Wednesday Forecast
The Austin metropolitan area and neighboring Hill Country will see a heavier round of freezing rain and ice starting Wednesday morning and throughout the day through early Thursday morning, according to the National Metereological Service.
While Austin could see temperatures as high as 33 degrees for a few hours in the afternoon, the wind chill will make you feel like you’re in your mid-20s.
The Austin region could see an additional 0.1 to 0.25 inches of ice on Wednesday. There is a chance of ice turning to rain during the afternoon, however forecasters expect the freezing rain to continue again through the afternoon and into early Thursday morning.
The freezing rain is forecast to end around 3 am Thursday, turning into a cold rain that will last until almost noon Thursday. Temperatures are expected to remain in the 30s Thursday morning and likely climb to the 40s by afternoon.
Road Conditions in Austin
Authorities continue to discourage drivers from hitting the roads unless absolutely necessary, as road conditions will continue to be treacherous on Wednesday.
The Texas Department of Transportation road conditions map shows that all major roads have reported ice. TxDot officials said crews are working to clear the roads, but conditions are still dangerous and people should stay off the roads.
City officials urge residents to stay off the roads. Austin first responders were called to nearly 300 traffic collisions resulting from ice Tuesday and dozens of falls.
6:27 a.m.: All lanes blocked at the 183A Turnpike and the SH-45 Turnpike.
Weather updates:Winter Weather Cancellations, Closures, and Delays in the Austin Area
Austin Airport Delays and Cancellations
7:55 am: Airlines have canceled 202 flights, while 18 are delayed.
5:32 a.m.: There are more than 180 canceled flights from Austin-Bergstrom and 11 delays, according to Flight Aware.
Austin School District Cancellations
Nearly all school districts, including Austin ISD, canceled classes and extracurricular activities today.
winter weather:Austin Area High School Athletic Events Postponed
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