AUSTIN (KXAN) — With temperatures forecast to hit 110° Monday with a “feels like” temperature of 112°, an excessive heat warning has been extended until Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas asked residents and businesses to conserve energy Monday between 2-8 p.m.
Both the city of Austin and Travis County will continue to operate cooling centers to help beat the record-breaking heat this week.
Travis County’s six community centers will also serve as cooling centers during normal business hours this week, with water available on-site for those in need. All city-run libraries, recreation facilities and senior centers will double as cooling centers during normal business hours, said Sara Henry, communications manager for HSEM.
“If you’ve been in this area for a long time, you’re not completely unfamiliar with what a Texas summer, an Austin summer looks like,” she said. “We are experiencing record temperatures this year, so it is critical that folks understand what it looks like if you’re experiencing heat exhaustion and what steps and tips to follow to make sure that we’re being safe.”
While Henry said it’s hard to gauge whether residents are visiting city-run facilities for cooling purposes during normal business hours, she said the city opened additional library facilities on Sunday to specifically serve as cooling centers. In south Austin, two people visited Austin Public Library’s Ruiz Branch for heat relief, while 11 visited the Walnut Creek library branch in north Austin.
CapMetro officials said Monday the transit authority will provide rides to all cooling centers as long as the heat warning remains in effect. CapMetro planned a detour along MetroBus Route 10 at South First Street and Red River Street for customers looking to access the Dittmar Recreation Center.
Stop No. 3757 at South First Street and Dittmar Road will be closed Monday and Tuesday, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
No one will be turned away if they can’t afford the ridership fare, officials added.
Citywide, Henry said HSEM is working in tandem with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services to provide medical tips on how to avoid heat exhaustion or other ailments during this latest wave.
Frequent breaks in the shade and air-conditioning, hydration and limited outdoor activities are all recommended. Residents are advised not to leave any child or pets unattended in cars, and to check on relatives or neighbors who might be more vulnerable.
For people experiencing homelessness, Henry said the city is working with its nonprofit providers to offer access to cooling centers or other resources, as well as collaborating with service providers who do outreach for older or medically vulnerable residents.
“It’s a two-way conversation: We want to understand [nonprofits’] needs as well, so that we can set up whatever they need and be responsive to serve the populations that are in need of additional resources during this heat wave,” she said.
She said HSEM also has supplies in reserve for people who are homebound and might need additional resources. Residents are advised to keep extra water, fans and other cooling resources on hand at home in the event of a power outage. All the latest emergency information is available on HSEM’s alerts webpage.
“Especially with the information that’s coming out from Austin Energy and ERCOT, what people are remembering is what it was like during Winter Storm Uri. And what I would say is that the conditions we’re in now are not like that situation — the current demand is not outpacing current supply,” she said.
Unlike the Feb. 2021 winter storm, which led to uncontrolled, days-long power outages, she said ERCOT doesn’t anticipate anything beyond shorter, controlled outages that would be temporary, should they happen.
“Right now, folks should just be prepared to be safe, stay home, stay out of the heat and drinks lots of water, and just know that there are resources available if they are needed,” she added.