MONDAY LIVE BLOG: Another night below freezing hits Central Texas as widespread power outages continue

Austin

NOTICE: This winter storm live blog for Monday is no longer being updated. You can find the latest updates for Tuesday in this live blog.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than half a foot of snow has fallen in areas around Austin and rolling blackouts are in order to help conserve power Monday in the entire state of Texas.

Top 3 biggest stories right now

This is the first-ever wind chill warning issued by the Austin/San Antonio National Weather Service Office. Our KXAN team is tracking the latest updates on this storm which will likely cripple the City of Austin and surrounding areas for days.

Winter Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service continues in the Austin metro area through noon Monday at least. A dangerous period of icing and sleet began Saturday and continued Sunday with snow accumulating across the area Sunday night.

We will include all the notices we receive from law enforcement or other traffic officials about crashes in this post.

Check our list of school closures and postponements with potential dangerous driving conditions on deck.

11:15 p.m. Monday

More than four million people in Texas and over two million customers in Central Texas are without power as of 11 p.m. Monday.

The rolling outages connected to the energy emergency throughout the state could last throughout Tuesday, according to Electric Reliability Council of Texas leadership.

“These outages will continue until there’s sufficient generation being able to be brought back online to meet the demands on the system,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s senior director of system operations. “At this time we anticipate that we’ll need to continue these control outages at some level for the rest of today and at least first part of [Tuesday], perhaps all day tomorrow.”

10:50 p.m. Monday

Monarch Utilities announced a boil water notice for customers in the Plum Creek water system in eastern Hays County.

“Due to repeated power outages, the system is unable to keep up with demand,” a press release from the utility company said. This notice affects more than 2,400 customers.

10:35 p.m. Monday

The Austin Fire Department says it has received 582 broken water pipe calls as of 9:30 p.m. Over 500 of those calls are since 12 p.m.

“We are attempting to respond to as many as we can amongst other priority calls. Dispatchers are almost continuously answering additional calls,” an AFD spokesperson said.

10:14 p.m. Monday

Austin 311 said it is experiencing high call volumes. It said if you get a busy signal, to please be patient or download the Austin 311 app to submit a request.

For a portion of Monday, the City of Austin’s website was down, and the city’s 311 phone service was not functioning.

10 p.m. Monday

This is what could happen when your pipes break due to this historic winter storm.

Clifton Highfield says the pipes froze and then broke at The Davis SoCo Apartments in south Austin.

9:25 p.m. Monday

The UT-Austin campus will be closed until 8 a.m. Thursday. All classes and events are canceled including virtual/online classes, UT President Jay Hartzell announced Monday.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and announce a reopening when conditions are determined to be safe. Only core essential staff members will report to work during the remainder of this closure,” the letter says.

8:45 p.m. Monday

Capital Metro will pick up “most” of its MetroBus services, starting Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The following CapMetro services will not operate Tuesday, February 16:

  • No MetroRail service
  • No Rail Connector service (Routes 465 and 466)
  • No MetroExpress service (Routes 935, 982, 985 and 990)
  • No Flyer route service (Routes 103, 105, 111, 135, 142 and 171)
  • No Round Rock service (Routes 50, 51, 150 and 152)
  • No Lago Vista service (Route 214)
  • No Pickup service
  • No UT Shuttle Service

8:30 p.m. Monday

Austin Fire Department dispatch has answered or dispatched more than 1,900 911 calls for service across Austin and Travis County, starting Sunday morning at 12 a.m. to Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Almost 1,600 of those were in the city of Austin, according to a spokesperson.

  • Collisions/Rescues: 10
  • Wires: 3
  • Public Assist: 50 
  • Alarm Activation: 180 and climbing
  • Fires: 8
  • Broken Water Pipes: 270 and climbing

8:15 p.m. Monday

The city of Taylor is under a boil water notice due to a “prolonged power outage at the water treatment plant,” it said. These are for customers with the Taylor Public Water System.

Residents might also experience little to no water pressure until power has been restored.

The city of Pflugerville and Manville Water Supply Corporation are also asking residents to boil their water.

8 p.m. Monday

Austin Public Health has decided to delay appointments for COVID-19 vaccine clinics and testing sites on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the winter weather and icy road conditions.

Testing: Individuals will need to reschedule their appointment online for later this week.
Vaccine: APH will be in touch via email or phone later this week with information regarding appointments for vaccine doses as weather conditions improve.

7:10 p.m. Monday

All arrival and departure flights previously scheduled for Tuesday at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) have been canceled, the airport announced Monday.

“It is critical that passengers with scheduled flights throughout this week check in directly with their airlines before traveling to the airport. AUS personnel remain onsite and are working around the clock to remove snow and ice from the airport campus,” a statement read.

6:45 p.m. Monday

Manville Water Supply Corporation in Williamson County is asking customers to conserve and boil their water, after “system wide” electrical failures created issues Monday during wintry weather.

Manville issued the boil water notice for all customers Monday evening just after 6:30 p.m. due to a decrease in water pressure that occurred.

6:15 p.m. Monday

Liberty Hill school is canceled Tuesday, the district announced. There will be no remote learning. All campuses and offices are closed and all extra-curricular activities are canceled. 

6 p.m. Monday

Buda and Kyle are asking residents to suspend water usage until further notice, citing a loss of power at the Guadalup-Blanco River Authority.

The City of Kyle says it’s close to running out of water supply, according to a tweet.

5:40 p.m. Monday

All YMCA of Austin branches will be closed on Tuesday, due to the ongoing power outages and dangerous road conditions.

5:20 p.m. Monday

Historic winter weather brought snow — which brought out the snow sports around Central Texas. This video from Jennifer Kidd is from a popular hill in northwest Austin near Murchison Middle School.

It was also a good day to sled for students near the UT-Austin campus.

Stuart Newberg sent KXAN this video from Austin’s Northwest Hills.

Nothing can beat dad and daughter snowboarding in south Austin. Thanks to Stephanie Mendoza for the video.

For more skiing, sleighing and snowboarding videos from Central Texas, check out this story.

4:40 p.m. Monday

4:20 p.m. Monday

Austin ISD is canceling classes Tuesday, Feb. 16, Wednesday, Feb. 17 and Thursday, Feb. 18. This Friday will be an asynchronous learning day, the district announced in an email Monday.

No students will report to campus Feb. 16., Feb. 17, Feb. 18 or Feb. 19, and buses will not transport students. There will be no remote instruction Feb. 16, Feb. 17 or Feb. 18 as internet and power outages may affect students’ ability to attend online classes.

Austin ISD says it will apply for a waiver from the Texas Education Agency to avoid needing bad weather makeup days. The district will provide an update at a later date about TEA’s decision or changes to the calendar.

Check here for the latest on school closures.

4:15 p.m. Monday

An emergency text sent out to Austin residents just after 4 p.m. Monday said not to call 911 for power outages.

“This is the Austin Police Dept. The City is aware of the power outage. Please do not call 911 to report power loss unless there is a life or death emergency,” the text reads.

3:55 p.m. Monday

Due to severe weather conditions, the City of Austin has cancelled the City Council work session, all City Boards and Commissions meetings, and the Joint Meeting with Travis County Commissioners Court on COVID scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

3:20 p.m. Monday

Here’s a current look at the energy emergency throughout Central Texas.

“The Texas power system is currently facing an unprecedented shortfall of electric generation,” Oncor said in a statement. “The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has requested Oncor and utilities across the state to implement controlled power outages to reduce high demand and protect the integrity of the electric grid.

You can read more here.

2:45 p.m. Monday

Austin ISD said to help accommodate students without power with virtual learning, it’s moving to “low-tech” strategies like utilizing telephones and packets.

Read: Full conversation with AISD Chief of Schools on winter storm impacts to the district

2:26 p.m. Monday

Eanes ISD will close all facilities and cancel all classes on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Staff should not report to work. Auxiliary staff should receive further instructions from their supervisors, the district says.

Austin Energy reports outages and stressed resources are likely to continue possibly into Tuesday afternoon, saying: “It depends on what we do as consumers to manage our energy use. The more we can conserve, the more we can help our neighbors.”

1:50 p.m. Monday

Oncor released further information on Monday afternoon, saying: “These outages are taking place across the service territory and ERCOT has said they could be required through Tuesday. We are asking all Oncor customers to be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time.”

Del Valle High School has been assigned as a temporary shelter for residents in need of a warm place.

Austin city leaders, including Mayor Steve Adler and City Manager Spencer Cronk, held a briefing to explain the current state of operations in the city.

1:26 p.m. Monday

Johnson City ISD will cancel all classes and work for students and staff on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

All Del Valle ISD classes are cancelled for Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Wednesday, Feb. 17.

12:50 p.m. Monday

Lake Travis ISD will close campuses for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Llano ISD has cancelled classes for Tuesday and will notify the community regarding possible updates beyond Tuesday.

12:15 a.m. Monday

Austin city leaders will host a conference to give the latest updates. You can stream and find more details here: Austin city leaders to give updates after historic winter storms.

11:40 a.m. Monday

All Manor ISD schools and offices will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 16 through Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Round Rock ISD has also closed all campuses and classes will be 100% virtual Wednesday, Feb. 17 and Feb. 18. Staff and students will not report to campus these days.

11:25 a.m. Monday

Current outages and whether outages are trending higher or lower than earlier:
Austin Energy – 195,906 customers without power as of 11:10 a.m. (about the same)
Oncor – 68,418 customers without power as of 11:10 a.m. (about the same)
Pedernales Electric Cooperative – 101,581 customers without power as of 11 a.m. (lower)
Bluebonnet – 16,332 customers without power as of 11:10 a.m. (lower)

TOTAL – 382,237 customers without power

Fayetteville ISD will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Central Texas Food Bank has cancelled distributions for Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Wed. Feb. 17.

11 a.m. Monday

ERCOT is urging businesses to minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming devices.

10:16 a.m. Monday

The City of Cedar Park is reporting homes without water due to frozen pipes in individual homes. There is no issue with the public water system, however.

CapMetro has suspended all service on Monday to shift available resources to emergency response.

  • Snow at Mt. Bonnell Feb. 15, 2021 (KXAN Photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • Snow at Mt. Bonnell Feb. 15, 2021 (KXAN Photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • Snowy homes in Point Venture, Texas Feb. 15, 2021 (Courtesy Mischa Baeza)
  • Snow in Point Venture, Texas Feb. 15, 2021 (Courtesy Mischa Baeza)
  • Camel at Indian Springs Ranch Courtesy Taylor Wier
  • Lake LBJ in Kingsland Courtesy Lydia Miller
  • Snowy roads in south Austin KXAN Photo Todd Bailey
  • Ice and snow hang from a bush in south Austin KXAN Photo Todd Bailey
  • A KXAN vehicle covered in snow in southwest Austin KXAN Photo Alyssa Goard
  • Snowdrift in east Austin Courtesy David Heisler

9:46 a.m. Monday

Oncor released an emergency update Monday morning explaining that due to electric generation shortfall, the expected outage length has extended much longer than intended.

H-E-B has changed hours for Central Texas stores due to the weather:

Austin/Central Texas
Monday: 12 noon p.m. – 5 p.m.

Wimberley & Dripping Springs
Monday: 12 noon p.m. – 5 p.m.

9:25 a.m. Monday

CURRENT OUTAGES

Austin Energy – 186,698 customers without power
Oncor – 56,419 customers without power
Pedernales Electric Cooperative – 109,593 customers without power
Bluebonnet – 19,610 customers without power

Monday morning, Austin Mayor Steve Adler joined KXAN News to explain the latest on city operations and precautions.

Smithville ISD has cancelled all classes for Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Elgin ISD will be 100% remote Tuesday-Thursday.

9:15 a.m. Monday

The City of Austin’s website and Austin 311 call lines remain down. The City is working to resolve the issue.

The City of Austin website outage is also causing problems with Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s site.

Meanwhile the City of Buda is urging residents to conserve water.

A snowy sunrise on Lake Travis Monday morning, courtesy of Kelly McDaniel.

A corgi plays in the snow in Austin, courtesy of Frank Donahue.

8:40 a.m. Monday

Austin-Travis County EMS Captain Christa Stedman joined KXAN News Today to discuss current operations in the area and deliver best practices for staying warm without power.

8:13 a.m. Monday

Current outages as of 8 a.m. and whether that is higher or lower than 7 a.m. update:

Austin Energy – 178,215 customers without power (about the same)
Oncor – 56,465 customers without power (higher)
Pedernales Electric Cooperative – 115,029 customers without power (higher)
Bluebonnet – 20,394 customers without power (higher)

7:41 a.m. Monday

The City of Austin’s website is currently down.

7 a.m. Monday

Austin Energy currently has more than 178,000 customers without power as of this update as rolling outages continue throughout the area. Utility officials say the outages will last longer than the originally planned 45 minutes.

Here’s the latest break down of how many people are without power and if the amount is higher, lower or about the same as it was when we last reported at 6 a.m.

Austin Energy – 178,188 customers without power (about the same)
Oncor – 49,695 customers without power (much higher)
Pedernales Electric Cooperative – 87,146 customers without power (much higher)
Bluebonnet – 18,578 customers without power (lower)

Austin Energy: “If you have power, please try to help the grid by reducing your energy use, your heating being a high-energy user!”

CapMetro originally planned to start public transit service at 7 a.m. Monday, but they have since revised that plan and will suspend service through at least Monday.

“We will continue to monitor road conditions throughout the day, and we will resume service if conditions improve,” its website says.

6:41 a.m. Monday

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said residents can expect to see rolling outages every 30 minutes or so.

6 a.m. Monday

Current outages:

Austin Energy – 178,173 customers without power
Oncor – 37,269 customers without power
Pedernales Electric Cooperative – 72,966 customers without power
Bluebonnet – 20,416 customers without power

TOTAL: 308,824 customers without power

5:51 a.m. Monday

5:40 a.m. Monday

Austin Energy’s controlled outages will continue until conditions improve, Austin Energy says. Customers are urged to keep electric use to only essential needs like heating and safety.

Austin Energy: “The situation continues to worsen across TX and here in Austin. Austin Energy implemented required outages early Monday morning, doing our part to help stabilize the ERCOT grid. The required outages are more extensive than anyone expected and do not allow us to bring affected customers back online at this time. We will continue working with ERCOT and working through our contingency plans to get power back on to customers as soon as the grid allows.”

We’ve been receiving some great snow videos from folks around the area, and a special thanks to Bruce Schuurman who has been driving around the area giving us a glimpse of what’s going on out there Monday morning.

Here’s the view on South Lamar outside Broken Spoke from Schuurman:

Here’s how Zilker Park looks, courtesy of Schuurman:

Have you seen that fun trick where you toss boiling water in the area and it immediately turns to snow and ice? Winston Hatta did that and sent it to us.

Below, snow falls in northwest Austin near the intersection of Arrowwood and Everest Lane, courtesy of Michael Lewis.

4:50 a.m. Monday

How do you properly measure snowfall? KXAN meteorologist Mark Peña explains how to get an accurate snow measurement in the latest weather blog.

A couple important points to consider: Make sure you are 25 feet away from a building so you’re not measuring a snowdrift and find a flat surface not on a lawn or grassy area.

4 a.m. Monday

Austin Energy now says power outages due to rolling blackouts across Texas may last longer than originally planned.

Austin Energy says the controlled outages may last longer than 40-45 minutes they mentioned earlier due to “the severity of weather and the condition of the grid.”

Here’s how the rotating outages will work.

KXAN’s Jim Spencer measured about 6.5 inches of snow outside his home Monday morning.

6.5 inches of snow outside Jim Spencer’s house

2:40 a.m. Monday

KXAN photojournalist Andrew Choat’s camera was rolling as the winter storm pushed through Round Rock Sunday night.

Check out the time lapse video above.

1:30 a.m. Monday

Early Monday morning, the ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) moved the Energy Emergency Alert to level three, the highest alert level for the state.

ERCOT, who manages the state’s power grid, said Monday around 1:30 a.m. that rotating outages are underway to reduce demand on the electric system.

Additionally, ERCOT said traffic lights and other infrastructure may be temporarily without power.

Monday, 12:17 a.m.

Early Monday morning, the ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) declared an Energy Emergency Alert 1 for the state of Texas, noting that energy conservation is needed statewide. ERCOT, who manages the state’s power grid, said Monday there are no rotating power outages at this time.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Austin-Travis County

More Austin-Travis County News

Check out the latest Emmy Award-winning weather lesson

More First Warning Weather University

Tracking the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Cases Tracker

Latest Central Texas COVID-19 Cases

More Coronavirus Live Blogs

Trending Stories

Don't Miss