Live Austin weather updates Friday: Winter storm warning in effect for Central Texas through the weekend

Kelsey Bradshaw
Austin American-Statesman

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Winter storm warning in effect through the weekend

National Weather Service meteorologists say some light freezing rain may drizzle in the Austin area overnight, but no significant precipitation is expected until later in the weekend, when officials are expecting a major winter storm through at least Monday. 

Austin weather Saturday:Follow the latest updates here

"The thing is, the situation is that nothing is going to get any better. Whatever is on the ground right now, it's going to stay iced because temperatures are going to stay below or very close to freezing," said Bob Fogarty, a National Weather Service meteorologist. 

A winter storm warning will remain in effect for Travis and surrounding counties from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Monday, according to the weather service website. 

According to National Weather Service forecasts, Austin could see some rain before 7 p.m. Saturday, and freezing rain later in the evening. The low in the area is expected to be around 27 degrees, with 5 to 10 mph winds. 

Fogarty said the front that will be responsible for the bulk of the precipitation is expected between Sunday night and Monday afternoon. 

There is a 20% chance of showers around noon Sunday. The high expected during the daytime is 36 degrees, with wind gusts as high as 20 mph, according to the National Weather Service. 

Temperatures are expected to drop Sunday night to a low of around 15 degrees, and snow and sleet is expected in the area. Most of the precipitation early Monday is expected to be in the form of snow, Fogarty said, adding that the Austin-area could see about 2 to 3 inches of snow by Monday afternoon. 

"After that is when it's going to get really cold," Forgarty said, adding that temperatures in the Austin area are expected to drop to as low as 7 degrees by Tuesday morning.

100,000 gallons of wastewater spilled after power failure

Austin water crews are trying to contain a wastewater overflow — which has already led to about 100,000 gallons of spillage — stemming from a power failure at a lift station in Northwest Austin, officials said Friday. 

The loss of power at the lift station, located at 8431 Spicewood Springs Road, was caused by inclement weather, according to city officials. The overflow, which began early Friday, has not affected the city's drinking water supply, Austin water officials said. 

"Austin Water is currently working with contractors to contain the overflow and repair the lift station. Recovery, hauling and cleanup is ongoing," officials said in a written statement. 

People whose water comes from a different public water supply can contact their distributor to determine the safety of the water for personal use, according to city officials.

Officials said people should avoid getting in contact with any material, soil or water that may have had contact with the spillage. Those who do should bathe and wash their clothes. 

Officials said people who are using private drinking water supply wells within a half-mile of the overflow area should: 

  • Only use water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute. 
  • Test and disinfect well water, if necessary, prior to discontinuing to distill or boil water

Abbott issues disaster declaration

Gov. Abbott has issued a disaster declaration, which opens the door for additional federal resources, as the state deploys personnel to respond to severe winter weather.

Abbott also has ordered the State Operations Center to expand operations to 24 hours a day.

The disaster declaration applied to all 254 Texas counties.

""These resources will help us respond to this severe winter weather and keep our communities safe," Abbott said in a written statement. "The State of Texas remains in close contact with officials on the ground and will provide any additional resources and support that are needed." 

The Texas Division of Emergency Management has deployed:

  • Texas Department of Transportation roadway preparation equipment and crews to monitor road conditions.
  • Texas Department of Public Safety patrols to assist stranded motorists along major travel corridors.
  • Texas Military Department equipment and personnel to support Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Abilene, Fort Worth, and Waco in assisting stranded motorists.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department vehicles and personnel to help stranded motorists along major travel corridors.
  • Texas A&M Forest Service personnel to help clear snow, ice and downed trees.
  • Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and Texas Task Force 1 search and rescue equipment and teams.
  • Texas Animal Health Commission equipment and personnel to address livestock concerns.

Austin fire responds to hundreds of crashes, dozens of fires in 24 hours 

Austin fire officials say firefighters from noon Thursday until noon Friday responded to a total of 815 calls for service, which included collisions, downed powerlines, structure fires and more.

Firefighters on average respond to 500 calls for service in a 24 hour period, according to Austin fire. 

The breakdown for some of the 815 calls include: 

  • Collisions: 335 (four of which were vehicle rescues)
  • Wires down/arcing: 56
  • Structure fires: 18
  • Public assist (trees on roads/houses): 35

Free Lunch, Shakey Graves team up to feed, warm up homeless

Jazz Mills and her small team at Free Lunch, a business that makes homecooked meals and delivers them four days a week to the Esperanza Community, the state-created campsite off of U.S. 183 near Montopolis Drive, are continuing their mission during Austin's frigid weather

Instead of setting the food out at one centralized area in the early evening, the team members will prepare soup and things that they can place in containers and drive around the camp and distribute more directly to residents who are trying to shelter from the dangerous temperatures. 

Mills says her friend Shakey Graves dedicated half of his Shakey Graves Day proceeds to Free Lunch this year, money that will help them ramp up services during the cold days ahead.  

Helping others:Free Lunch, Shakey Graves ramp up efforts to feed and warm homeless in severe weather

Weather could affect vaccine shots

If you are scheduled to receive vaccine doses through Austin Public Health over the next few days, you might have your appointment canceled because of the extreme cold that has gripped Central Texas, health officials said Friday. 

Dr. Mark Escott, interim Austin-Travis County health authority, and Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard on Friday said they are closely monitoring weather conditions and, if appointments need to be canceled because of dangerous road conditions or extreme cold, residents would be notified by email, text and phone call ahead of their appointment.

Read the full story:Weather could force Austin Public Health to cancel vaccine appointments, officials say

- Heather Osbourne

Cold weather shelters activated in Austin

Austin's cold weather shelters have been activated for Friday night, Austin emergency 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.

Families in need of shelter should report to the Salvation Army's downtown shelter at 501 East Eighth Street by 6 p.m.

A health screening for COVID-19 will be done at the shelters and temperatures will be checked.

The city's shelter hotline can be reached by calling: 512-305-4233.

-Kelsey Bradshaw

More than 9,000 still without power in Austin

Austin Energy is now reporting more than 9,000 of its customers are without power as freezing temperatures persist in Central Texas.

Crews were responding to 196 outages as of 10:33 a.m., according to Austin Energy's power outage map. 

Three Austin Energy circuits are locked out, but officials said power will be restored to thousands of customers once the circuits are back online.

The restoration process is taking longer because crews are dealing with icy conditions and other hazards, Austin Energy said. 

Outages can be reported by calling 512-322-9100. Outages can also be reported online at:

The full story and updates:Track the power outage impacting thousands in Central Texas, including Austin residents

— Kelsey Bradshaw

Central Texas freeze: What's closed?

A mix of unstable air and cold temperatures generated freezing rain throughout Central Texas on Thursday. As severe weather continues in the region, get a complete list of weather-related closures in the Austin area here.

Road travel remains dangerous in Austin

Morning commuters should watch for icy roads as patchy, freezing drizzle falls on roadways already slick from Thursday's soaking from freezing rain, the National Weather Service said.

The light precipitation is expected to last until 9 a.m., forecasters said. 

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for Travis, Williamson, Bastrop and Hays counties until 10 a.m., the weather service said. Bridges and overpasses in the affected counties, which more exposed to the drizzle and frigid air, are likely to be iced over, forecasters said. 

"If travel is necessary, use extreme caution and be aware of possible ice and slick spots on area roads," the weather service said in a bulletin Friday morning.

MoPac Boulevard is closed at Lake Austin Boulevard due to icy conditions on Friday February 12, 2021.

The 183-A tollway in Cedar Park is closed in both directions because of ice, Cedar Park police said. The Travis County sheriff's office was responding to multiple collisions east and west of Interstate 35 because of icy conditions Friday morning. 

"EXTREMELY ICY CONDITIONS on roadways across the city. We are already seeing many crashes in all parts of town," Austin transportation officials said on Twitter.

Austin-Travis County EMS officials reported that between midnight and 8:30 a.m. Friday, medics responded to "39 primary collisions and multiple secondary collisions at those incidents along with 2 environmental exposure calls."

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


How cold will it get in Austin? Here's Friday 

Daytime skies will be cloudy as temperatures rise to a high near 35 degrees, which is 30 degrees cooler than normal, according to the weather service. North winds blowing 10 to 15 mph during the day may have gusts as high as 25 mph. 

Skies will remain cloudy through the night and temperatures will drop to a below-freezing low of 29 degrees, forecasters said. North winds blowing 10 mph at night will have gusts as high as 20 mph.

During freezing weather, check on friends, family and neighbors to make sure they have a warm place to stay. Bring pets inside and cover outdoor plants and livestock. 

Wrap outdoor pipes and, if you have an in-ground sprinkler system, drain it and cover aboveground pipes. Pipes can also be allowed to drip.

Patchy drizzle will return to the Austin area after 3 a.m. on Saturday, forecasters said. Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow will also be possible on Saturday, according to the weather service's extended forecast:

Saturday: Cloudy with a 30% chance of precipitation and a high near 35. Patchy, freezing drizzle is expected before noon. North winds blowing 10 mph could have 20 mph gusts. Cloudy at night with a 40% chance of rain, freezing rain and sleet before midnight and a low around 29. Snow and freezing rain will be possible after midnight. North-northeast winds blowing 5 to 10 mph at night could have 20 mph gusts.

Sunday: Cloudy with a 20% chance of rain and snow after noon and a high near 37. North-northeast winds blowing 5 to 15 mph could have 20 mph gusts. Low of 16 at night with an 80% chance of precipitation, including snow after midnight. North winds blowing 10 to 15 mph could have 25 mph gusts. 

Monday: Partly sunny with a 40% chance of snow before noon and a high near 25. North-northwest winds blowing 10 to 15 mph could have 25 mph gusts. Partly cloudy at night with a low around 10. North winds blowing 5 to 10 mph at night could have 20 mph gusts. 

Tuesday: Mostly sunny with a high near 33. Mostly cloudy at night with a 30% chance of freezing rain and sleet after midnight with a low around 26. 

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of rain, snow and freezing rain with a high near 43. Mostly cloudy at night with a 20% chance of rain, snow and freezing rain with a low around 26. 

Thursday: Mostly sunny with a high near 44.