City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
An emergency shelter, food distribution and mobile charging station are now available
The City of Austin and its partners have been working through the weekend to provide resources for those who continue without power or are otherwise impacted by the historic ice storm. An emergency shelter, food distribution and mobile charging station are now available.
For individuals and families who remain without power or can no longer afford to stay in a hotel and need a place to shower or sleep, dial 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 to request overnight stays with Austin 311.
Sleeping cots, shower facilities, food + water, pet sheltering, and charging stations are all accessible at emergency shelter. The City of Austin is working with community partners and volunteers to meet requests. Once a shelter request is made with Austin 311, residents will receive a call back from City of Austin personnel between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with information on next steps.
We know it is difficult for customers without power to make plans. Customers without electricity should make the best decisions for their household. We’re doing everything possible to restore power to all our customers.
Drive-Thru Food Distribution
The Central Texas Food Bank is conducting a drive-thru food distribution event this evening, Monday, Feb. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Delco Activity Center. 4601 Pecan Brook Dr.
Food is distributed first come, first served, while supplies last, with enough for approximately 500 households.
All distributions are operating as a drive-thru and food will be loaded directly into each vehicle’s trunk. Please allow appropriate space in your trunk before arriving at the distribution. Recipients will receive a mix of perishables and dry goods that do not require electricity to prepare.
Vouchers will be provided on site to ensure no one unnecessarily waits in line. If you are unable to get food, please visit centraltexasfoodbank.org and use the Find Food Now tool or call 2-1-1 to find a food pantry near you.
Austin Energy has deployed a mobile charging station where residents charge their phones, medical and other devices. Residents should bring their own cords. The station will be at the Tony Burger Center (3200 Jones Rd) on Monday, Feb. 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (southeast side of the football stadium.
Austin Transportation Department
Austin Transportation Department (ATD) crews continue to make steady progress bringing traffic signals back into operation. As of 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5, 26 of the city’s 1,100+ traffic signals remain dark. Over the course of the week, ATD staff have reset nearly 200 total signals. Drivers are reminded to approach all intersections with caution and treat all dark traffic signals as an all-way stop. Crews have placed temporary stop signs at four major intersections where the traffic signals are not operational
ATD staff individually checked all the city’s nearly 600 flashing school zone signals Sunday, Feb. 5, resetting as many as possible. Drivers should treat all school zones as active when school resumes this morning—even if the lights are not flashing—and adhere to posted school zone speed limits. The hours for school zones vary by the school but are generally between 7 and 10 a.m. and 3 and 5 p.m. If you see a dark school zone signal, please report the outage to 3-1-1.
Residents who are driving on Austin roads are asked to remember to slow down and move over for any utility crews working in the field to restore power. Video is available here to share with the public.
The public is encouraged to help local government agencies get a full assessment of damage impacts from the storm. Individuals are able to report their impacts through the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT). Report ice storm impacts through the iSTAT survey here.
Reporting damages to Emergency Management is a voluntary activity, is not a substitute for reporting damage to your insurance agency, and does not guarantee disaster relief assistance. However, contributions from the public help Emergency Management personnel provide a clearer picture of the extent of damage across the community, and it helps prioritize the deployment of emergency response crews at the local level as reports arrive.
Austin Energy provided a Winter Weather Restoration Update on Feb. 5. More than 94% of Austin Energy customers currently have power. We are now focusing on the most complicated and time-consuming restoration efforts. Those efforts will continue to be challenging due to forecasted wind and rain. Based on current information, we expect to restore power to nearly all remaining customers by Sunday, February 12, with the exception of those in need of electrical repairs to customer-owned or maintained equipment. This estimation is based on the following factors: rate of restoration since the start of the storm, number of workers involved in the restoration process, a more complete damage assessment, and weather
Austin Energy continues to prioritize critical loads while also focusing on those customers who have been without power the longest. Since the start of the storm, we have completed 308,000 restorations. We continue to restore power to customers and expect many of our remaining affected customers will have electricity before Sunday. The expected weather conditions this week may damage power lines and already weakened trees, causing additional outages, increasing the risk for our lineworkers, and slowing progress. Austin Energy will reassess the situation and provide a revised update midweek
Visit austinenergy.com/go/restoration for more information about restoration efforts
Customers without power can check the Austin Energy outage map and report their outage online or by texting 287846. Customers who receive a text that an outage in their area has been restored should reply OUT if they still have an outage. Smaller outages can continue after a major circuit has been repaired when secondary power lines or equipment have also been damaged.
If your property has experienced damage to electrical equipment, please call a licensed electrician. Individual repairs must be made before Austin Energy can reenergize power to your property. This may also affect power restoration to your neighbors. Review information on Austin Energy’s Electric Service Planning Application and Emergency Permits.
Crews may knock on residents’ doors to gain access to Austin Energy equipment, such as power lines in a utility easement located on a resident’s property. Austin Energy personnel will be clearly identifiable with badges and in Austin Energy vehicles. Residents are asked to work with them on allowing access as needed.
As crews work to restore power, circuits can become overloaded because of appliances, electronics, thermostats, pool pumps, pool heaters and vehicle chargers left on before the outage. This is called cold load pickup, and it may cause a second outage.
Customers currently without power can help avoid cold load pickup by:
- Turning off thermostats.
- Turning off or unplugging appliances.
- Only leaving on one light to indicate when the power is back on.
Austin’s water and wastewater treatment plants continue to operate normally, and water storage levels remain healthy. Power has been restored to most of Austin Water’s lift stations and pump stations, with only 1 station still powered by a generator.
Austin Water has also made progress resolving localized impacts in two small areas. In the Mount Larson area, water service was restored and the limited area boil water notice was lifted on Sunday, February 5. Within the Glenlake subdivision, service was also restored and water samples were taken on Sunday, February 5. Austin Water expects to receive lab results on Monday, February 6, and will notify the affected customers when the limited area boil water notice has been lifted.
Austin Water now encourages everyone to check for leaks in and around their homes. If you have a water outage or need to report a leak in your neighborhood, please call Austin Water’s 24-Hour Dispatch Team at 512-972-1000.
Repairs and Permits
The City’s Development Services Department will work retroactively with homeowners, business owners and contractors to permit and inspect emergency repairs to ensure work was completed safely. That means that work can begin quickly on repairs. Types of repairs that will require permits include:
- Ruptured or damaged water lines
- Main electrical service
- Structural damage
Storm Debris Management in the Right of Way
Nearly 300 City of Austin employees from Austin Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Watershed Protection and from the Texas Forest Service are working throughout Austin to clear the right of way of downed trees and debris. Debris will be placed on the side of roads so that Austin Resource Recovery can pick up the debris as part of our coordinated effort.
City crews will be working across Austin using a grid system approach to methodically confirm that debris has been cleared. Teams will be assigned to specific sectors of the City to confirm their assigned area has been cleared of debris. City crews will be clearing our entire City of obstructions throughout the week as quickly as possible.
Residents should report downed trees in the right of way by calling 3-1-1 or using the 311 mobile app. The request will be routed to sector crews to help with our effort.
Storm Debris Removal on Private Property
Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) crews are resuming regular curbside trash, recycling, and composting service starting Monday, Feb. 6. Residents should set their carts out on their regular collection day. Typically, ARR will collect the contents of your green cart and up to 15 extra items placed beside the cart but item limits will be temporarily waived for storm debris collection.
Additionally, ARR crews and personnel from three external contractors are expediting the collection of storm debris materials. Because the damage is widespread throughout the City, storm debris collections will take some time.
Request a collection of downed tree limbs due to the storm by contacting Austin 3-1-1 via its mobile app, online request form or calling 3-1-1 (512-974-2000). Please have the limbs at the curb ready for collection at no charge to the customer. Debris should be cut and assembled using the following guidelines:
- Branches and limbs should be between 5 and 15 feet in length. Branches and limbs longer than 15 feet should be cut down.
- Tree trunks thicker than 8 inches in diameter should be cut down to 3 feet long or less.
- Stack loosely along the curb in one row, not more than 15 feet across and no higher than 4 feet, with cut ends facing the street.
- Please don't block the sidewalk or extend into the street.
- To prevent damage to your property, keep items 5 feet away from your trash cart, mailbox, fences or walls, water meter, telephone connection box and parked cars. Do not place any items under low-hanging tree limbs or power lines.
The public is encouraged to follow the guidelines as closely as possible. Our crews are working to get Austin back to normal as quickly as possible. Here's how you can help us speed up the process and keep our workers safe:
- Follow set-out guidelines as closely as you can. We realize there may be space limitations, but large storm debris is collected with a crane. The guidelines make it possible for us to collect the material with that equipment.
- Clear unnecessary items out of the roadways. Please remove things like basketball hoops and parked cars out of the roadway when possible to allow our trucks to pass through and collect the debris at the curb.
- Slow down to get around. As always, we're asking Austin drivers to yield when approaching City vehicles and to be alert to potential field employees working on the street. Please drive slowly when going around these vehicles and always remember to, ‘slow down to get around' to keep our workers safe.
Austin Water will accept brush for drop-off at its Hornsby Bend Biosolids Treatment Plant on 2210 S FM 973 during regular business hours, Monday–Saturday. The material will be composted and made into Dillo Dirt. Learn more at: austintexas.gov/brushdropoff.
Residents with physical limitations or financial needs requiring help cleaning up winter storm debris can request volunteer assistance through the Austin Disaster Relief Network.
- Though the weather is warmer, certain road dangers still exist due to the remaining downed power lines. Trees have been weakened and may continue to fall people should remain aware of their surroundings.
- Watch the weather forecast. Trees are still vulnerable after the winter storm and may have broken limbs higher up in their branches that you can’t see. with strong winds and rain forecasted as early as Tuesday, Feb. 7 additional tree limbs may fall, potentially creating additional damage.
- Food Safety: Refrigerated or frozen foods may not be safe to eat after the loss of power. Find out what you can do to keep food safe during a power outage, and when you need to throw away food that could make you sick. Austin Resource Recovery customers can dispose of any spoiled food byMedia placing it in their green composting cart for collection, and recycle the glass, plastic and metal containers. Place all plastic wrap, waxy paper and Styrofoam packaging in the trash.
To request an interview or to visit any of the City of Austin sites where assistance is being offered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.