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Forecasters expect more significant ice accumulation today throughout the Austin metro region and Hill Country, making already dangerous roads even more treacherous.
Thousands of Austinites lost power early Wednesday morning as the ice caused various problems, such as tree limbs falling on power lines. The number of customers without power continues to rise, with over 1[ads1]00,000 reported by Austin Energy at 07.40
Austin Fire said they have responded to over 75 calls related to arcing lines and that several stations have also lost power.
Here’s what we know about road conditions, today’s forecast and power outages:
Winter storm forecast for Austin:Here’s what you need to worry about
09:45: Heavier round of ice is over
The storm’s most significant round of freezing rain that hit the Austin metro area Wednesday morning has moved out of the region, according to the National Weather Service.
There is still a chance for freezing drizzle and rain, which could change to just a mix of cold rain or sleet as temperatures are expected to reach just above freezing Wednesday afternoon. However, the wintry weather mix could return Wednesday night with more chances for freezing rain early Thursday morning.
Temperatures are expected to be above freezing Thursday morning and move into the 40s in the afternoon. There is also a small chance of rain throughout the day.
The winter storm warning is still scheduled to end at 06.00 on Thursday.
More:Affected by the power outages in Austin, Texas? Here’s what you can do to stay safe
Austin Energy says power will be restored ‘quickly’
Austin Energy spokesman Matt Mitchell said crews have been dispatched and are working to restore power as quickly as possible. He added that every outage is unique and some repairs will take longer than others, especially as treacherous road conditions make it more difficult to navigate the city. Temperatures could get above freezing for a few hours Wednesday afternoon, which he said will help crews fix power outages faster.
The utility company tweeted that power outages are widespread and some customers may see power outages for 12 to 24 hours.
Ice can cause tree limbs and other vegetation to freeze, snap and fall onto power lines, resulting in mass failure.
If you lose power, follow this advice from Mitchell: don’t panic, stay inside, keep all windows and doors closed, unplug major appliances and heaters, bundle up, grab some blankets, and wait for power to come back on.
Additionally, do not use stoves, ovens, or portable grills to heat your home, as this 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.
More:What you can do to stay safe, warm during a power outage
While many in the region may have flashbacks to Winter Storm Uri that caused massive power outages for several days, this storm is not forecast to be as bad, and Mitchell said power will be restored as the weather warms over 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 safely and quickly restore power.”
Power outages in central Texas
Austin Energy is reporting a large number of power outages affecting up to 80,000 customers at some point early Wednesday morning. The company tweeted that the extreme weather, mainly the ice, leads to power cuts and that crews are sent out and work to get the power back on.
Thousands of Pedernales Electric Cooperative customers in central Texas and the Hill Country are also without power.
8:45 a.m.: Oncor reports 16,127 customers in Williamson County, 6,446 in Travis County and 1,054 in Bastrop County are without power.
8:10 a.m.: 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 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 statewide are also without power.
6:36 a.m.: 294 active outages resulting in nearly 85,000 Austin Energy customers without power. Across the region, over 6,000 Pedernales customers are without power, while 197,000 in the state are without power.
6 a.m.: The number of Austin Energy customers without power continues to climb, as 204 outages leave nearly 67,000 customers 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 tips:Here’s how to stay out of the emergency room during this winter storm
Austin’s Wednesday Alert
The Austin metro area and neighboring Hill Country will see a heavier round of freezing rain and ice starting Wednesday morning and moving through the day into early Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
While Austin could see temperatures reach 33 degrees for a few hours in the afternoon, the wind chill will make it actually feel like it’s in the mid-20s.
The Austin region could see anywhere from another 0.1 to 0.25 inches of ice Wednesday. There is a chance the ice could turn to rain during the afternoon and into the evening, but forecasters expect freezing rain to continue again through the evening and early Thursday morning.
Freezing rain is forecast to end around 3 a.m. Thursday, transitioning to a cold rain that will last until almost noon Thursday. Temperatures are expected to remain in the 30s Thursday morning and will likely rise to the 40s during the afternoon.
Road conditions across Austin
Officials continue to advise drivers not to hit 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 reported ice on them. TxDot officials said crews are working to clear roads, but conditions remain dangerous and people should stay off the roads.
City officials are urging residents to stay off the roads. Austin first responders were called to nearly 300 traffic collisions as a result of the ice Tuesday and dozens of falls.
06:27: All lanes are blocked at the 183A toll and SH-45 toll.
Weather Updates:Winter weather cancellations, closures, delays in the Austin area
Austin airport cancellations, delays
07.55: Airlines have canceled 202 flights, while 18 are delayed.
5:32 a.m.: There are over 180 flights canceled from Austin-Bergstrom and 11 delays, according to Flight Aware.
Austin school district cancellations
Almost all school districts, including Austin ISD, canceled classes and extracurricular activities today
Winter weather:Austin-area high school athletic events have been postponed