AUSTIN (KXAN) — Crews from Austin Energy to first responders are eyeing loose limbs and lingering brush debris ahead of Thursday’s storm. According to KXAN’s First Warning Weather Team, damaging winds and hail pose the biggest threats.
Families like Lauren Morris’ still have the ice storm fresh in their minds.
“Challenging, emotional and a little bit scary, truthfully,” she said about last month’s severe weather. Morris said she lost power and some branches.
“We did have some of our tree limbs come down, they broke some of our fence,” she said.
Piles of brush and limbs are still strewn about public property and outside people’s homes, including Morris’.
“There’s a huge pile in front of my house just waiting for trucks to pick up. So I guarantee that will probably go down the street,” she said.
“That’s a big challenge,” said Chief Nick Perkins of Travis County Emergency Services District 2 in Pflugerville. “Not a lot of great options, but there are ways to secure your brush with rope.”
It’s not just the branches on the ground – but loose-but-still-connected-limbs that are cause for concern.
“Top of mind for us is the wind,” said Austin Energy Spokesperson Matt Mitchell. “Especially following the ice storm that we had just a few weeks ago. You’re still seeing a lot of those weakened branches and limbs, that makes them more susceptible to breaking and then falling into those power lines.”
Limbs falling on power lines caused the most problems for Austin Energy during the ice storm, when hundreds of thousands lost power.
While the utility does expect some outages during the upcoming storm, Mitchell said they won’t be as widespread – and Austin Energy is staffed up to full capacity and does not anticipate needing any mutual aid.
“A lot of those weakened limbs came down and were also trimmed back,” he said when we asked about vegetation mitigation ahead of Thursday. “So a lot of that work has already been done.”
He also said the outage reporting system is fixed, so it shouldn’t bottleneck if an influx of reports comes in.