City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Public is encouraged to use extra caution as they move about Austin today due to strong winds and rain overnight
AUSTIN, Texas – The public is encouraged to use extra caution as they move about Austin today. Strong winds and rain overnight may have further destabilized compromised trees and power lines.
Since a cold front moved through the Austin area overnight, the National Weather Service anticipates gusty northwest winds throughout today. Additional gusty winds are in the long-range forecast.
Residents are urged to:
- Be aware of their surroundings when out walking or in their yard.
- Do not leave pets or children unsupervised under trees.
- When possible, do not park vehicles under trees.
As of Tuesday evening, 99% of Austin Energy customers had power. Since the beginning of the storm Austin Energy has restored 355,284 customers. The utility monitored weather conditions overnight and crews were scheduled to work around the clock, as safety conditions allow.
"Our crews are working as quickly as possible to remove this debris," said James Snow, Interim Director of Austin Public Works. "As we pivot to address the aftermath of the storm, we're moving from reactive work to a systematic approach of removing debris. We have reconfigured our operational staff to focus on debris removal to increase the numbers from 29 to 41 crews."
Between Jan. 30, and Feb. 6, 2023, Austin 3-1-1 fielded 77,211 calls. The top storm-related calls have been for Austin Energy outages, storm debris, and downed trees and limbs. During a winter storm, residents may also call Austin 3-1-1 for information about Warming Centers and Cold Weather Shelters. After the storm, the information tends to be about recovery and restoration, storm debris collection, debris in the street, tree issues in the right of way, traffic sign and signal maintenance. You can submit a service request using the online form, Austin 3-1-1 mobile app or calling 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000.
Field Operations crews continue to assist with debris clean-up efforts throughout the city. During rain events, focus is placed on low-water crossings, ponds and other drainage infrastructure. Residents are urged to not block storm drain inlets to help prevent flooding.
How do our crews work through stormy conditions?
- If it's raining, they will continue to work. It doesn't matter if it's a mist or a torrential downpour.
- If there are wind gusts above 30 mph, our crews will not go up in lifts until the winds calm down.
- If there's lightning, our crews will not work in the area.
Austin Energy will assess any additional damage caused by the overnight weather. Customers are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings as trees are compromised and high winds could pose new issues. Forecasted rain showers and scattered thunderstorms Tuesday night could combine with gusts of wind up to 35 mph. 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 OUT to 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.
Multi-Agency Resource Centers
City departments, partner agencies, and community organizations launched a series of Information Centers and Multi-Agency Resource Centers to help the community recover from the recent storm. Information is available at the below locations during the centers’ normal operating hours.
Information Center Locations:
- Blackland Neighborhood Center, 2005 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78722*
- East Austin Neighborhood Center, 211 Comal Street, Austin, TX 78702*
- Gus Garcia Recreation Center 1201 E. Rundberg Lane, Austin, TX 78753
- George Morales Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive, Austin, TX 78744
- Montopolis Recreation Center, 1200 Montopolis Dr. Austin, TX 78741*
- North Austin YMCA, 1000 W Rundberg Ln, Austin, TX 78758
- Turner-Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Dr., Austin, TX78724
- Travis County Community Centers
- Central Austin, 5325 Airport Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78751
- Del Valle, 3518 FM 973 S., Del Valle, Texas, 78617
- Jonestown, 18649 FM 1431, Suite 6A, Jonestown, Texas, 78645
- Manor, 600 W. Carrie Manor St., Manor, Texas, 78653
- Oak Hill, 8656 A State Highway 71 West, Suite 100, Austin, Texas, 78735
- Pflugerville, 15822 Foothill Farm Loop, Suite D, Pflugerville, Texas, 78660
* Indicates locations providing limited takeaway food boxes. Please note meals and supplies are on a first-come, first-served basis. Based on the needs of our community, we are anticipating a high number of attendees. Please expect potential traffic and delays due to parking.
Additionally, Multi-Agency Resource Centers will open beginning today and run through Saturday, February 11. Staff will be available at these centers to answer community members’ questions and provide a variety of complimentary resources, such as charging centers, debris and damage information, mental health support, hot food, laundry facilities, showers, and more.
Multi-Agency Resource Centers
Staff will be available to answer community members’ questions and provide a variety of complimentary resources to help the community recover from the recent winter storm, such as charging centers, debris and damage information, mental health support, hot food, laundry facilities, showers, and more. Please note, hot meals and supplies are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Based on the needs of our community, we are anticipating a high number of attendees. Please expect potential traffic and delays due to parking. All Austin-Travis County residents are welcome.
Date: Wednesday, February 8
Times: 3:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Montopolis Recreation and Community Center: 1200 Montopolis Dr, Austin TX 78741
Date: Thursday, February 9
Times: 3:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: North YMCA: 1000 W Rundberg Ln, Austin, TX 78758
Date: Friday, February 10
Times: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location: Austin Convention Center, 500 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701
This event is hosted by the offices of the Mayor and Council Members of Districts 3, 4, 5, and 9.
Date: Saturday, February 11
Times: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Austin Community College Riverside Campus, 1020 Grove Blvd, Austin, TX 78741
In addition, the City has created a “virtual” resource center, which can be accessed online 24/7 at AustinTexas.gov/Recovery.
Austin Resource Recovery
As residents are clearing out their fridges, remember to use your green cart to compost as much spoiled food, food scraps and food-soiled paper as possible. Be sure to remove food from the packaging before composting.
Here are some tips:
- Place spoiled food, food scraps and food-soiled paper in the green compost cart.
- Recycle empty plastic, glass and metal containers in your blue recycling cart.
- Keep waxy paper, plastic wrap and Styrofoam packaging out of your green and blue carts.
If spoiled food cannot be removed from the packaging and needs to be thrown in the trash, it should be put in the brown cart. For any spoiled food that will not fit into these two carts, for a limited time, there will be no charge for up to two trash bags placed at the curb.
Three contract crews are working alongside City staff to expedite the collection of storm debris materials. ARR customers can request a collection of large tree limbs due to the storm by calling 3-1-1 (or 512-974-2000) or submitting a storm debris collection request through the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app or by visiting Austin311.org.
Limbs should be at the curb ready for collection. ARR crews will assess and collect them as soon as possible.
Regular trash, recycling, composting, brush and bulk collections resumed on Monday, February 6. Due to the large amount of material we are collecting, compost collections may run behind. Please leave composting carts at the curb while crews get caught up.
Regular curbside collections resumed on Monday, February 6. Due to the large amount of material we are collecting, composting collections may run behind. Please leave composting out while crews get caught up. Learn more at AustinRecycles.com.
Austin Transportation Department
As of late Tuesday evening, Austin Transportation Department (ATD) was tracking five flashing red traffic signals and one dark Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon due to power outages. ATD is working with Austin Energy to prioritize power restoration to these signals.
Field crews have been replacing battery backup power to the five signals without power to ensure they continue flashing and do not go dark. Temporary signage is in place at the dark Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon to direct pedestrians to the next crosswalk.
The locations of these remaining signals without power are:
- West Parmer Lane and Spectrum Drive
- I-35 frontage road at the Hancock Center
- Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Comal Street
- Davis Lane and Brodie Lane
- Exposition Boulevard and Westover Road
- West 45th Street and Ramsey Avenue (pedestrian hybrid beacon)
ATD is aware of two flashing school zone speed limit signals that are not functioning due to power outages. Temporary signage has been placed at those two locations to alert drivers of the posted school zone speed limits. The public is reminded to treat dark traffic signals as an all-way stop, adhere to posted school zone speed limits at the beginning and end of the school day—even if the lights are not flashing—and report any outages to Austin 3-1-1.
ATD maintains more than 1,100 traffic signals and approximately 600 school zone speed limit signals. Field crews and staff have continued to work around the clock this past week, individually checking on hundreds of these signals and working as quickly as possible to reset them.
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
Learn more about emergency repairs and permits here.
There are certain types of repairs that do not require a permit. Visit the Work Exempt from Building Permits webpage for more information.
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, call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 to request overnight stays through Austin 3-1-1.
Sleeping cots, shower facilities, food + water, pet sheltering, and charging stations are all accessible at an emergency shelter. The City of Austin is working with community partners and volunteers to meet requests. Once a shelter request is made with Austin 3-1-1, residents will receive a callback from City of Austin personnel between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. with information on next steps.
Austin’s water and wastewater treatment plants continue to operate normally, and water storage levels remain healthy. Customers are encouraged 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.
Storm Debris Management in the Right of Way
On Tuesday, 181 employees spread across 36 crews from the City of Austin’s Public Works department were working throughout Austin to clear the public right of way of downed trees and debris. Over the past 24 hours, crews have responded to 83 requests to remove debris from public spaces. Since response efforts began last week, more than 1,000 debris removal requests have been addressed.
This week, crews will continue taking a grid system approach to methodically confirm that debris has been cleared from public rights-of-way across the city. Teams are assigned to specific sectors of the city to clear obstructions and confirm when their assigned area has been cleared for mobility access. Since Monday, crews have already assessed approximately 50% of the city's map.
Residents should continue to report downed trees in the right of way by calling Austin 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 or using the 3-1-1 mobile app. The request will be routed to the assigned sector crews to help with our ongoing efforts. Residents may see trees placed on the side of roads so that Austin Resource Recovery can pick up the debris as part of our coordinated effort.
Storm Debris Removal on Private Property
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.
For emergency information visit Austintexas.gov/alerts