**Editor’s Note: This live update blog has been retired and will no longer be updated. For Friday’s updates on the winter storm, click here. Thank you so much for reading.
CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — As a winter storm barrels through Central Texas with freezing rain and sleet, it has caused slick roads and poor driving conditions for Thursday and potentially into Friday as temperatures are forecast to stay below freezing.
Once the weekend hits, the area will gradually warm up, and any remaining ice should melt. This will be a brief storm compared to the historic 2021 blast that lasted about a week and led to mass power outages and water loss for days.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect areawide through 10 a.m. Friday. Here are resources from KXAN to help you prepare and stay weather-aware during the storm.
- KXAN’s First Warning Weather Team’s latest forecast
- LIST: Central Texas school closures due to wintry weather
- Latest on power outages
- How you can monitor Texas’ power grid online
- Warming shelters open Thursday
- Austin first responders urge people to stay off roads during winter storm
- Texas winter storm: How city, county leaders learned from 2021 arctic blast
- Not from Texas? Here’s why people drip their pipes here
- Austin Water activates cold weather plan; what’s changed since 2021 storm
10:30 p.m. The charts below show air temperatures and wind chills over the course of the last few days. Watch as temps fall dramatically below freezing.
10:22 p.m. TxDOT said the I-35 SB main lanes just south of U.S. 290 East are back open after a 14-car pileup. The exit for 51st Street remains closed, though.
9:48 p.m. ATCEMS said no one had to be taken to the hospital after the crash on I-35 SB at U.S. 290 East. There was one adult with minor injuries who was treated but didn’t want to go to a hospital.
9:36 p.m. TxDOT said all southbound lanes on I-35 at U.S. 290 East are closed because of the reported 14-vehicle crash.
9 p.m. Austin-Travis County EMS said it’s responding (along with fire and police crews) to a reported crash involving 14 vehicles at 6100 N. Interstate 35 southbound, near the intersection with Highway 290 in northeast Austin.
8 p.m. Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a water rescue just before 7:30 p.m. Thursday. A car was stuck in the water at a low water crossing off Bitting School Road with one person inside.
The person was helped to safety and wasn’t hurt. ATCEMS reminded people not to drive on flooded roadways or around barriers.
7:05 p.m. TxDOT said an 18-wheeler is blocking all lanes and the exit ramp on SB I-35 at Stassney Lane. The agency said this will take some time to clear. Keep up with news on traffic and road conditions here.
6:55 p.m. A viewer sent KXAN this photo of power lines sparking near tree branches in the West Lake Hills area.
6:15 p.m. Austin Public Health said earlier in the day COVID testing and vaccine sites will be closed Friday, including the new Metz Elementary site. The Dove Springs Rec Center site will have a delayed start on Saturday. It will run from 12 to 4 p.m.
6 p.m. Austin Energy gave an update on outages Thursday evening. As of 6 p.m., there were four active outages and less than 200 customers without power. The utility said many outages on Thursday were caused by downed power lines and trees falling on lines.
5:40 p.m. The Georgetown Police Department is asking people to avoid Interstate 35 northbound and southbound as officers work to clear multiple crashes that are blocking lanes.
“All bridges still have ice so please stay home and off the roads. The roads are not safe to drive on,” the police department tweeted.
5:20 p.m. The Austin Fire Department reported on Thursday it’s responded to 128 total incidents between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Six of those were fires, 10 of those were related to traffic crashes or injuries, four of them were because of downed wires and two of them were related to broken pipes.
4:20 p.m. Bryce Bencivengo with the City of Austin said as of 3:30 p.m., around 100 people were using the city’s warming centers.
The City of Pflugerville said city facilities will stay closed for Friday. Trash and recycling pickup services also remain suspended.
4:05 p.m. The Texas Department of Transportation tweeted all lanes are closed due to a crash on NB I-35 at SE Inner Loop.
3:40 p.m. Three Austin Regional Clinic locations (Round Rock, Far West and Southwest) will be open from 2 to 6 p.m. on FRIDAY for URGENT CARE ONLY. All other appointments will be virtual only. No drive-up COVID testing or vaccines will be available.
3:20 p.m. Meals on Wheels said its client service team will continue to check on its high-risk clients. The organization said if those clients need anything in the next few days, its crews will work to make sure they’re taken care of — whether that be driving on roads when passable or partnering with city resources to deliver items.
Meals on Wheels said emergency kits will be sent out with meal deliveries next week, explaining the group it got the kits from experienced a supply delay. Right now, Meals on Wheels clients have three weeks’ worth of food, which is enough to last until the next delivery, according to the organization.
3 p.m. As precipitation exits the area early this evening, dangerously cold weather settles in. A rare Wind Chill Advisory is in effect areawide from 9 p.m. Thursday through 9 a.m. Friday for wind chill values as cold as -4 degrees.
2:39 p.m. There’s a warming center set up in Taylor at St. Paul House and Fellowship Hall that is open until 6 p.m. Officials say call (512) 662-3348 if you need a place to go or transportation to the warming center.
2:32 p.m. As of Thursday around 2:30 p.m., roughly 3,500 customers appear to be without power, according to Austin Energy’s website. Austin Energy said there are seven outages and the largest is near West 29th Street and North Lamar Boulevard.
2:25 p.m. KXAN’s First Warning Weather Team has put together some helpful guides and FAQs during this winter weather. Check them out below:
2:20 p.m. A large tree outside of an apartment complex succumbed to the pressures of winter weather conditions and injured someone, according to Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (ATCEMS). It happened earlier this morning. Below is a photo of the tree.
2:17 p.m. Lakeway Police say Lakeway Drive has re-opened. “Please continue to use caution if you have to travel in the area – expect any wet roads to re-freeze into the evening.”
2:16 p.m. Cedar Park police are reminding people to bring in their pets. “Remember, if you’re cold, they’re cold!”
2:15 p.m. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport confirmed to KXAN there have been 195 canceled arrivals, 221 canceled departures and 28 flights still allowed to happen.
1:10 p.m. Cedar Park Police say officers have responded to several calls of animals left outside in the cold.
Cedar Park PD says to call 512-260-4600 ext. 0 if you need to report an animal.
1 p.m.: HEB stores in Central Texas, for the most part, will close at 5 p.m. Thursday and then reopen at 8 a.m. Friday, the store posted on its website. The Fredericksburg HEB will stay open until 6 p.m. Thursday. The Central Market locations in Austin will close at 8 p.m. Thursday. Curbside and delivery service will vary in certain areas and people should check with their local stores.
12:42 p.m. Buda Public Works reported icing on RM 967 at the Onion Creek Bridge as of 12:15 p.m.
Crews are commencing sanding operations, the city said.
Any Buda travelers who experience icing conditions are asked to contact Buda Public Works at 512-749-0478.
12:21 p.m. As of 12:20 p.m., there were more than 3,000 Austin Energy customers without power. The outage affected customers near central Austin and in parts of the West Lake Hills area.
You can view outage information on Austin Energy’s website.
11:46 a.m. Austin Bergstrom International Airport canceled nearly 200 arrival flights Thursday. The airport says it canceled 195 arrival flights, 221 departures and has 28 scheduled flights. Scheduled flights include flights that have taken off/already landed and what is remaining for the day.
11:26 a.m. Austin Travis County EMS responded to the scene of Duval Street near E. 45th Street for a call of a tree limb falling on a person.
EMS said the person was transported to an area hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
11:21 a.m. TxDOT say crashes on the north and southbound I-35 upper decks in Austin had it closed for nearly an hour. Both sides were cleared and reopened just after noon.
“Please don’t drive unless absolutely necessary,” TxDOT tweeted.
11:20 a.m. Gov. Greg Abbott provided an update Thursday morning with state energy and safety leaders.
Watch the briefing here.
As of 10 a.m., there were nearly 59,000 power outages throughout the state.
11:09 a.m. Bluebonnet Electric says it has closed its Manor and Bastrop member service centers due to icy road conditions.
The company says to call member services at 800-842-7708 for assistance.
11:04 a.m. Austin-Travis County EMS is responding to 116-228 E. Slaughter Lane to someone with hypothermia on a greenbelt trail. Here are the warning signs for hypothermia. One person was taken to an area hospital for cold exposure.
10:36 a.m. From 9:00 a.m. Wednesday through 9:00 a.m. Thursday, the Austin Fire Department has responded to the following calls for service:
- Total incidents: 298
- Fires: 17
- Traffic accidents/injuries: 45
- Wires arcing: 5
10:30 a.m.: Ever wonder how to measure ice accumulation? It’s not the same as snow, so KXAN’s Nick Bannin explains how to do it properly.
Also, things look pretty frozen over in the Sweetwater Glen neighborhood in south Austin. KXAN photographer Ed Zavala snapped these photos of ice in the neighborhood moments ago.
10:10 a.m.: KXAN will be back on the air at 11 a.m., and we’ll stream the broadcast in this story. In the meantime, Lorraine Wicker out in Llano is finding the bright side in this cold weather by using sleet and ice to keep the Lone Stars cold. That’s the kind of attitude to have during times like this. Bravo!
9 a.m.: Road crews were hard at work trying to keep ice off area roads, and KXAN photographer Frank Martinez spotted one of the trucks spraying some brine in an effort to keep the highway passable. Even with crews out there, it’s still recommended people stay off the roads if at all possible.
8:30 a.m.: While the weather is causing issues all over our viewing area, it also has its own beauty. KXAN’s Nick Bannin snapped this picture while rolling through downtown checking out driving conditions.
8:15 a.m.: An update on power outages around Austin … AE’s outage map is showing an outage of around 280 customers in Rollingwood. There was a large outage in northwest Austin that affected about 1,000 people, but it has since been taken off the map.
7:30 a.m.: David Price sent us this wild video of the road at the US 183 and MoPac flyover. You can hear the crunch of the sleet and ice on the car’s tires, and the driver is taking it very slowly. It’s another example of why you should stay off the road unless you absolutely have to be out there. And if you do have to travel, SLOW DOWN.
7:20 a.m.: We received a report of a water main leak on Nueces and Guadalupe, and our photographer Mariano Garza took these photos. Austin Water said they found out about the leak around the same time we called them. Crews are on the way to fix the leak, but be careful in the area as some of the water could freeze and create more ice on the road or sidewalk.
7 a.m.: If you’re looking at flying out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport today, you should contact your airline and check ABIA’s online flight board. The winter storm has canceled just about every flight in and out of the airport, so you’ll need to make other arrangements with your airline, most likely.
6:50 a.m.: Here’s a slideshow of photos from around the area sent to us by viewers. The bottom line is that it’s icy pretty much everywhere and it’s best to stick around home and stay off the roads.
6:30 a.m.: KXAN meteorologist Sean Kelly explained how freezing rain and sleet form, and it has to deal with different temperatures of the atmosphere.
6 a.m.: Ice is building on the roads in the Hill Country, and it’s starting to accumulate in the metro area. KXAN meteorologist Nick Bannin took these photos of ice building up on branches near Manor.
5:30 a.m.: We’re starting to get viewer photos from around the area of the freezing rain and sleet that’s falling and causing wintry conditions. If you have photos or videos of the conditions where you’re at, please send them to ReportIt@kxan.com and then expect a form in your inbox to fill out that gives us permission to use your content.
An update on a previous power outage in central Austin — it appears Austin Energy has power back on in the Old West neighborhood, according to the utility’s outage map.
5:05 a.m.: Austin-Travis County EMS said medics responded to someone who was stuck in a low water crossing and is standing on top of their car on Gregg Lane in Manor, near the Austin Executive Airport. A STAR Flight had to cancel a trip out there because of the weather. Rescuers were able to get the person off their vehicle and treated them at the scene.
Another ambulance was called for one of the rescuers who could have potentially developed hypothermia after getting in the water to perform the rescue.
4:45 a.m.: About 2,400 Austin Energy customers in the Old West neighborhood are without power, according to Autin Energy’s outage map. The estimated time of restoration is listed as 5:41 a.m., but that could change as weather conditions also change.
4:30 a.m.: Temperatures across the area are either at freezing or below as rain turns into freezing rain and sleet. Winds are also picking up as storm systems blow through the area.
The City of Austin said it will have community warming centers open for those who need them, 24 hours a day while the conditions call for it.
We’re also getting reports that roads in Gillespie County are now beginning to ice over. Stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to travel.