Winter weather in Austin: Power outages continue for hours, H-E-B closes, travel 'difficult to near impossible'

Snow covers downtown Austin at Lavaca and 15th streets. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Snow covers downtown Austin at Lavaca and 15th streets. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Snow covers downtown Austin at Lavaca and 15th streets. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Snow falls on Rogge Lane in East Austin on Feb. 14. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
A wintry mix started falling in the Austin area the evening of Feb. 14 and turned to snow into the early morning of Feb. 15. According to the National Weather Service, the winter storm has made travel "difficult to near impossible." With 6 inches of snow falling in Austin and remaining below freezing, icy road conditions will remain through Tuesday, according to the NWS. Both Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown have declared a local state of disaster.

All flights in and out of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport have been cancelled Feb. 15. Passengers with a scheduled flight in the next 48 hours should check with their airline before arriving at the airport.

Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University, and The University of Texas have closed campus and cancelled classes through Feb. 17. St. Edward's University is closed through Feb. 17 at 8 a.m. and UT said they will remain closed through at last 8 a.m. Feb. 17. Huston-Tillotson has cancelled classes through the full day Feb. 17 as well.

Austin ISD students were off Feb. 15 for Presidents' Day, and the district has announced that classes have been cancelled through Feb. 18.

Austin Emergency Management has set up the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin, as a warming center for those who need a place to get out of the cold. Individuals who report to the warming center will also receive transportation to a shelter to stay overnight if requested. Families looking for a shelter to stay overnight should report to the Downtown Salvation Army Shelter, 501 E. Eighth St., Austin. Officials say anyone reporting to the warming center should try to do so during the day rather than waiting for nightfall.

More than 211,000 Austin Energy customers are without power as of the evening of Feb. 15. Under direction from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the utility provider has maxed out the number of customers it can take offline without affecting critical services such as hospitals and emergency response, according to general manager Jackie Sargent. As customers experience power loss that has stretched through the day, Sargent said the outages could continue into Feb. 16. "We've gotten to the maximum point, we're basically stuck here until we get some relief from ERCOT," Sargent said.

Austin Resource Recovery pickup for trash, recycling, composting and other curbside services continues to be on hold. Customers are asked to leave their uncollected carts on the curb in order to let the city's crews catch up, which ARR says will happen through the week and into the weekend of Feb. 20-21.

Baylor Scott & White clinics in the Austin region will operate virtually Feb. 15 and all drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites will be closed, but hospitals remain open.

Capital Metro suspended all service as of 7:30 a.m. Feb. 15 due to extreme snow and ice. The public transportation provider said it will resume most service 10 a.m. on Feb. 16.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has closed all the toll roads it operates until further notice. The Mobility Authority operates the following toll roads: 183A Toll from south of San Gabriel Parkway to RM 620; 290E Toll from US 183 to east of Parmer Lane, including the direct connectors; 183S Toll from US 290 to SH 71, including the direct connectors; 71E Toll from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to SH 130; 45SW Toll from FM 1626 to MoPac; MoPac Express toll lanes from Lady Bird Lake to Parmer Lane.

ERCOT continues to order local electricity providers to reduce demand on the electric system due to high demand. Typically, according to ERCOT, utility companies achieve this reduction through rolling outages.

H-E-B announced all stores in Central Texas will be closed Feb. 15 due to the winter storm and will reopen Feb. 16 at noon.

Editor's note: This article has been updated as of 10:30 p.m. Feb. 15.


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