Cold Weather Shelters extended through Thursday morning
While the worst weather from Winter Storm Heather seems to have passed, the danger of below-freezing temperatures continues to affect Austinites. Please continue to protect the four Ps: People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants and remembering to check on your neighbors.
The National Weather Service’s Hard Freeze Warning and Wind Chill Advisory expired at 10 a.m. today with another cold front forecasted to hit Friday night. Please continue to take precautions by limiting time outdoors and dressing in layers or staying covered as much as possible.
“As we transition from emergency response to recovery following Winter Storm Heather, we are thankful for the coordination of all our partners in emergency management and public safety,” said Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Ken Snipes. “The City has recovery resources and tips online at austintexas.gov/recovery for anyone needing repairs or assistance with their water, power, and more.”
Mental Health and Disaster Recovery
The City encourages the public to consider their mental health and well-being as we move into recovery. Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of home, business, or personal property. It is normal to feel overwhelmed or anxious during disaster recovery, and we encourage the community to follow mental health guidance after an emergency or disaster:
- Be aware of exhaustion
- Don’t try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself.
- Get enough rest.
- Drink plenty of clean water.
- Eat well.
- Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water often when working in debris
- More mental health guidance is available from FEMA.
Recovery Needs: Repairs and Permits
911 is experiencing a surge of call volume regarding broken water pipes and alarm activations. It is important for residents to know that there may be a delay in responding to non-life safety alarm activations or pipe issues as emergent situations are being prioritized to ensure everyone’s safety.
This winter weather event has not impacted Austin Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants, and water storage levels remain healthy.
If customers experience a leak in their neighborhood or need assistance shutting water at the meter, they may call Austin Water’s 24-Hour Dispatch Team at 512-972-1000. Austin Water encourages everyone to check for leaks in and around their homes and use their cold weather tips.
As temperatures rise and return to above freezing, please take time to check your pipes for areas that may be frozen and thaw them properly and slowly. Turn on any faucet that has water flow, as the faintest trickle can help thaw a frozen pipe. Try warming the pipe by opening cabinets to allow warm air near the pipe, or wrap the pipe with warm, damp towels. If these steps do not work, contact a licensed plumber or property manager. For issues with a suspected damaged meter, call our 24/7 emergency line at 512-972-1000. For complete instructions on how to locate and thaw frozen pipes, visit austinwater.org.
If you haven’t done so already, Austin Water also encourages signing up for the portal reviewing your My ATX Water meter data within the portal for any indication of a leak or usage patterns.
If emergency repairs need to be completed on a property, 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 critical repairs. Types of repairs that may require permits include:
- Ruptured or damaged water lines
- Main electrical service
- Structural damage
For damages on tenant-occupied properties, residents should notify their landlord. Code Compliance inspectors are following up on Austin 3-1-1 requests to work with property representatives to get their properties up to code as quickly as possible.
Warming Centers and Shelters
Libraries and recreation centers are open as Warming Centers during normal business hours. For a map of all warming centers, visit AustinTexas.gov/Alerts. The City is extending Cold Weather Shelters overnight to remain activated through Thursday morning for those needing a warm place to stay. Approximately 634 people used these shelters on Tuesday night, a record number. Anyone in need of overnight shelter may register from 6-8 p.m. at One Texas Center (505 Barton Springs Road). For shelter after 8 p.m., contact Austin 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 to request assistance.
As a reminder, Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) will notify after-school participants regarding regularly scheduled programming, including for the recreation centers where programming has been impacted. General PARD programs are canceled through 2 p.m. on Thursday at some locations. We acknowledge this is a disruption to the routine for those who use Park’s facilities outside of an emergency. The City appreciates the patience and adaptability of community members as our priorities shift to life safety during an emergency. Please check the Parks and Recreation Department's website before heading to a location.
Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery has resumed normal operations. Customers can get updates about changes to their services by downloading the Austin Recycles app or by signing up for reminders at www.austintexas.gov/myschedule.
Stable conditions are expected to continue. Austin Energy teams will continue to monitor grid conditions, and crews stand prepared to respond to any reports of any power outages.
Visit austinenergy.com/alerts for information about current electric system conditions.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated, and both the City and County’s emergency management departments continue to monitor conditions from the EOC along with other departments and non-government organizations that assist with emergency response.
Updates regarding this winter weather event are available at AustinTexas.gov/Alerts in 14 different languages. Please follow @AustinHSEM on Facebook and Twitter for other updates and information.
If you need assistance, call 311, or 512-974-2000, or use the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app. Austin 3-1-1 can connect you with a variety of city resources.
The winter season is not over, and staying ready is the best way to prepare for future inclement weather events. Attend an Emergency Preparedness Pop-Up event tonight from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and check out the below websites for the latest information.