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Forecasters expect more significant ice accumulation today throughout the Austin metro region and the Hill Country, causing already dangerous roads to become even more treacherous.
Thousands of Austinites lost power early Wednesday morning, as a result of the ice causing various problems, such as tree limbs falling on power lines. The number of customers without power continues to rise, with over 100,000 reported by Austin Energy as of 7:40 a.m.
Here’s what we know about road conditions, today’s forecast and power outages:
Winter storm warning for Austin:Here’s what you need to worry about
Austin Energy says power will be restored ‘quickly’
Austin Energy spokesperson Matt Mitchell said crews are dispatched and working to restore power as quickly as possible. He added that each outage is unique, and some repairs will take longer than others, especially as treacherous road conditions make it harder to navigate the city. Temperatures could get above freezing for a few hours Wednesday afternoon, which he said will help crews get outages fixed faster.
Ice can cause tree limbs and other vegetation to freeze, snap and fall on power lines, resulting in mass outages.
If you do lose power, follow this advice from Mitchell: don’t panic, stay inside, keep all windows and doors closed, unplug major appliances and heaters, layer up, grab some blankets and wait for the power to be restored.
While many in the region may be having flashbacks to Winter Storm Uri which caused massive power outages for days, this storm is not predicted to be that bad, and Mitchell said power will be restored as the weather warms over the next 24 hours.
“We as utility understand those memories are still very fresh,” Mitchell said. “This is not that. Our crews are in place, we are executing a plan, and we will safely and quickly restore power.”
Austin’s Wednesday forecast
The Austin metro area and neighboring Hill Country will see a heavier round of freezing rain and ice starting Wednesday morning and moving throughout the day into early Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
While Austin could see temperatures get up to 33 degrees for a few hours in the afternoon, the wind chill will cause it to actually feel like it’s in the mid-20s.
The Austin region could see anywhere an additional 0.1 to 0.25 inches of ice Wednesday. There is a chance the ice could turn to rain during the afternoon moving into the evening, however, forecasters expect the freezing rain will continue again during the evening and into early Thursday morning.
Freezing rain is predicted to end by about 3 a.m. Thursday, turning to a cold rain that will last up until nearly noon on Thursday. Temperatures are expected to stay in the 30s Thursday morning and will likely rise into the 40s by the afternoon.
Road conditions across Austin
Officials continue to discourage drivers from hitting the roads unless absolutely necessary, as road conditions will remain treacherous Wednesday.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s highway conditions map shows that all major highways have ice reported on them. TxDot officials said crews are working to clear roadways, but that 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 as a result of the ice on Tuesday and dozens of falls.
6:27 a.m.: All lanes are blocked at the 183A toll and SH-45 toll.
Power outages across Central Texas
Austin Energy reports large numbers of power outages affecting up to 80,000 customers at one point early Wednesday morning. The company tweeted that the extreme weather, mainly the ice, is leading to power outages and that crews are dispatched and working to get the power back on.
Thousands of Pedernales Electric Cooperative customers in Central Texas and the Hill Country are also without power.
7:40 a.m.: 21% of Austin Energy customers are without power as a result of 367 outages, affecting over 113,000. Nearly 11,000 Pedernales customers and over 240,000 across the state are also without power.
6:36 a.m.: 294 active outages resulting in nearly 85,000 Austin Energy customers to be without power. Across the region, over 6,000 Pedernales customers are without power, while 197,000 in the state don’t have power.
6:00 a.m.: The number of Austin Energy customers without power continues to increase, as 204 outages are causing nearly 67,000 customers to be without power.
5:50 a.m.: Across Texas, about 161,500 customers are without power.
5:43 a.m.: Over 56,000 Austin Energy customers are without power due to nearly 190 outages across the region affecting 89% of customers.
5:43 a.m.: Nearly 2,900 Pedernales customers from Round Rock to Kyle to San Marcos to Dripping Springs are without power.
Weather updates:Winter weather cancellations, closures, delays in Austin area
Austin airport cancellations, delays
5:32 a.m.: There are over 180 flights canceled out of Austin-Bergstrom and 11 delays, according to Flight Aware.
Austin school districts cancellations
Nearly all school districts, including Austin ISD, canceled classes and extracurricular activities today
Winter weather:Austin-area high school athletic events postponed