8 things to know about Hurricane Harvey in Southwest Austin

Members of the Southwest Austin community are banding together to provide relief efforts to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Members of the Southwest Austin community are banding together to provide relief efforts to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

As thousands of coastal Texans flee their homes in the wake of floods brought on by Hurricane Harvey, Austin is experiencing an influx of evacuees seeking shelter and services. National disaster relief organizations and local businesses are banding together to help victims recover from loss of life and property. Here's a few things to keep in mind regarding relief efforts citywide and in Southwest Austin.

  • Onion Creek area spared from flooding, neighborhood residents say

Residents in the upper Onion Creek area say the neighborhood has mostly avoided flooding following heavy rains over the weekend. On Friday, neighborhood groups increased security measures and prepared emergency evacuation plans to prepare for a potential repeat of history. Creek levels remained steady over the weekend and on Sunday, president of the Onion Creek Homeowners Association Ken Jacob told Community Impact Newspaper he did not expect any flooding of area homes. Additionally, 10 homes recently approved for purchase by Austin City Council as part of its flood buyout program would maintain their prior appraisal value regardless of any damage inflicted by the storm, another area resident confirmed.

  • Athletic stadium provides shelter to evacuees

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for hurricane evacuees in the Toney Burger Activity Center and Stadium in Sunset Valley, according to the city. Manned by American Red Cross staff and volunteers, the shelter is in need of diapers, feminine hygiene products and baby formula. Donations can be dropped off at the facility.

  • Austin-area businesses donate proceeds to Hurricane Harvey victims

Several restaurants and bars across Austin will donate a portion or all of their sales this week to victims of the storm. Participating eateries in South Austin include Poke Poke, Via 313 and Freebirds World Burrito. For more details about dates and locations, click here. Beginning Friday and lasting through Monday, Treaty Oak Brewing and Distilling, 16604 Fitzhugh Road, Austin, will host a Labor Day Weekend party with live music, drink specials and food to benefit victims of the storm. A portion of the weekend's proceeds will be donated to the Central Texas Food Bank Hurricane Relief Fund, and cash donations will also be collected on-site. The business is also partnering with Hope Family Thrift Store to collect supplies (see list below) for those in need. Those who make donations will be entered into a raffle to win a Treaty Oak Gift Basket.

Supplies requested by the Hope Family Thrift Store include:

•        New undergarments (all sizes, children and adult)

•        New socks (all sizes, children and adult)

•        Toiletries (including shampoo, face wash, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.)

•        New bed pillows

•        New blankets

•        Clean-up supplies

•        Black trash bags

•        Mops and buckets

•        Utility knives

•        Leather work gloves

•        Inflatable mattresses

•        Hand sanitizer

•        Box fans

  • Sunset Valley encourages residents to schedule brush pick-up

Strong winds and inclement weather has caused an increase in brush and excess debris in the streets of Sunset Valley and on private property. The city is encouraging its citizens to sign up for curbside brush pick-up services this Thursday and next, Sept. 7. Residents seeking to have brush removed can call 512-891-9103 to be placed on the city’s brush-chipping list.

  • New insurance law takes effect Friday

Those seeking immediate relief need to file insurance claims by Friday if they hope to avoid consequences of House Bill 1774, which was passed in the regular Texas legislative session. The bill takes effect on Sept. 1 and will limit the penalties insurance companies could face if they don’t pay enough in claims. To avoid any implications of the impending legislation, those filing claims should notify in writing their insurance providers of their claims prior to Friday.

  • Road closures begin to decrease in Austin 

Road closures amid the heavy rainfall in Austin since Saturday have largely been lifted. Find the latest news at ATX Floods. Because of Tropical Storm Harvey’s now more southeasterly direction, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting lower rainfall in the Austin metro area through Wednesday, down to 1 to 3 inches of rain from 3 to 8 inches previously.

  • City power outages mostly resolved

A map supplied by Austin Energy showed power outages scattered throughout the city Monday afternoon, with 269 active outages affecting nearly 3,574 people reported at 1:26 p.m. Today, the majority of those incidents have been resolved, with only 82 active outages and 526 affected customers recorded at 11:31 a.m. This is down from Sunday morning, when 283 active outages were affecting nearly 14,000 people and 231 hazards, or down trees or power lines, were reported.

  • Area hotels and vacation rentals offer discounted rates, free lodging to storm victims

Area hotels and Airbnb hosts are offering discounted rates and flexible amenities to those who have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Hosts in the South Austin area have signed up through Airbnb's Disaster Response and Relief Program to offer accommodations at free or discounted prices. According to the Airbnb website, all service fees are waived for those affected by the disaster and checking in between Aug. 23-Sept. 1. Additionally, on Aug. 25, Governor Greg Abbott suspended statewide, both local and state, hotel and motel occupancy taxes for relief-effort workers and evacuees. The suspension is expected to last 14 days.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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