HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) - In several communities across the region, tornado sirens are used to warn residents of impending danger.
In Central Texas, San Marcos has 14 sirens and Cedar Park just added three in the city's largest parks. Georgetown also has the warning systems, and in the Hill Country, there are sirens in San Saba and Mason.
In Austin and Round Rock, no tornado sirens are in place.
In Hutto, the city is weighing the pros and cons of installing the sirens.
In fact, the city manager received an email Monday from a citizen asking where the community stands on tornado sirens.
Hutto doesn't have any right now, but they are researching the tornado tool right now.
City Manager David Mitchell used to live in Temple where a tornado siren was installed right down the street from his family's home.
Mitchell said he had no trouble hearing the siren when it was tested on a regular basis, but the one time there was a serious tornado threat and the siren went off, his family could not hear it.
"The wind was blowing the rain almost completely sideways," Mitchell said, "pelting the windows of the house so it really limited the ability to hear."
He was thankful they had this weather radio at the time and took cover.
The city Hutto does spending money each year training local people to become severe weather spotters, who then alert the national weather service. They also use a reverse 911 system to alert people when the weather takes a dangerous turn.
It will take city staff a few more weeks to gather info on tornado sirens before reporting their findings to the city council.
In urban areas such as Travis County, 24-hour operations centers can be up and running in minutes, filled with police, fire, health and utilities staff
As someone who plans for the unpredictable, emergency coordinator Pete Baldwin's most immediate comparison to Monday's storms was the May 27, 1997, F5 tornado that slammed into Jarrell, Texas.
"You want to do what you can to help," Baldwin said,"and to see that kind of uncontrolled fury, that kind of destruction, it has a toll, it takes a toll on everyone."
The operations center also contains a direct line to the national weather service and a reverse 911 system to alert homeowners about any impending disaster and the dangerous aftermath.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
With freezing temperatures pushing through the region, heating systems will likely be working overtime, which can bring rising energy bills.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.