Cold weather shelters activated; winter storm warning for Williamson, Burnet, Llano counties

Kelsey Bradshaw
Austin American-Statesman

9:45 p.m. update: While the bulk of the precipitation in the area has dissipated, National Weather Service meteorologists say cold temperatures persisting in the Austin area will keep road conditions from improving overnight. 

Bob Fogarty, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said spots of light precipitation could move through the area for the next hour or so. He also said a weak line of light rain could move in from the west, adding that conditions could change in a few hours. 

"For the next three or four hours, there is some chance for spotty rain, but I think it will be off and on," he said. 

Fogarty said meteorologists are not expecting any significant rain or sleet after midnight in the area, but freezing temperatures will still lead to dangerous road conditions. 

"Overnight, we don't expect the temperatures to change much," he added. 

10:15 a.m. update: Austin's cold weather shelters have been activated for Thursday night with temperatures expected to fall near freezing, Austin Public Health officials said. 

Single adults in need of shelter should report to the Central Library at 710 West Cesar Chavez Street between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., the city said.

Families should report to the Salvation Army shelter at 501 East Eighth Street by 6 p.m.

Those seeking shelter will be screened for COVID-19 during registration and temperatures will be checked.

For more information on the shelters, call the city's hotline at: 512-305-4233.

9 a.m. update: A winter storm warning is in effect for Williamson, Burnet, Llano and Gillespie counties until midnight, the National Weather Service said.

A combination of unstable air and cold temperatures will produce freezing rain all day and into the evening. Those affected by the storm warning, including the communities of Fredericksburg, Burnet, Llano and Georgetown, should see accumulations of freezing rain on roadways and exposed surfaces, such as bridges and overpasses, forecasters said.

Drivers are being urged to use caution. If road travel is necessary, the weather service said, drivers should keep an extra flashlight, food, water, blankets and a charged cell phone in case they become stranded.

Deputies shut down FM 1431 near Tyler Trail because of ice on the roadway and at least one collision there.

Thursday forecast for Austin: Some roads in Georgetown were reported to have ice and possibly snow on them as the National Weather Service warned Central Texas counties of slick, icy roads with rain chances and nearly freezing temperatures. 

Ice is reported on FM 3405 and Texas 195 in Georgetown, according to a Texas Department of Transportation map. Cedar Park police said spots of ice on the 183-A tollway were causing traffic problems.

Previous coverage:5 chilling things to know about Austin's frigid February forecast for this week's weather


As the possibility of ice and cold temperatures continues, the weather service said a winter weather advisory is in effect for Travis, Hays, Blanco and Kendall counties until 3 p.m. Thursday. The advisory is in effect until midnight for Williamson, Llano, Burnet, Edwards, Kerr and Gillespie counties.

During the advisory, forecasters expect ice accumulations ranging from a light glaze up to two-tenths of an inch, including on exposed and elevated surfaces. Drivers should watch for ice and slick roads, especially on bridges and overpasses.

"Slow down, don’t use your cruise control, leave extra space between vehicles and buckle up," the Texas Department of Transportation said.

Temperatures in Austin are expected to peak on Thursday at a high near 37 degrees, which is only 4 degrees warmer than what Camp Mabry, the city's main weather station, was reporting at 7:30 a.m. The normal high for this time of year is almost 30 degrees warmer, according to weather service data.

An 80% chance of rain will last throughout the day with a thunderstorm possible after 1 p.m. Up to a half-inch of rain will be possible, the weather service said.

North winds blowing 10 to 15 mph during the day will have gusts as high as 25 mph. 

Rain chances will decrease to 70% at night and forecasters don't expect more than a tenth of an inch of rain to fall. Higher amounts will be possible if a thunderstorm occurs. 

Nighttime skies will be cloudy and temperatures will dip to a low around 33 degrees. 

North winds blowing 10 mph at night will have gusts as high as 20 mph. 

Rain will move out of the Austin area by Friday, leaving conditions dry and temperatures cold, according to the weather service's extended forecast:

Friday: Cloudy with a high near 39. North winds blowing 10 to 15 mph could have 20 mph. Cloudy at night with a low around 33. 

Saturday: Cloudy with a 20% chance of rain after 7 a.m. and a high near 41. North winds blowing 5 to 10 mph could have 20 mph gusts through the night. Cloudy at night with a 20% chance of rain before 7 p.m. and a low around 29. 

Sunday: Cloudy with a high near 41. Cloudy at night with a 70% chance of rain. Snow is likely and the low will be around 18. North-northeast winds blowing 10 mph could have 25 mph gusts. 

Monday: Snow likely, possibly mixed with freezing rain, with a 70% chance of rain and a high near 28. North winds blowing 10 to 15 mph could have 25 mph gusts. Mostly clear at night with a 20% chance of snow before 7 p.m. and a low around 13. 

Tuesday: Mostly sunny with a high near 38. Mostly cloudy at night with a low around 28.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of rain and a high near 49.