AM Update 7/16/12
7:51 am
Mon July 16, 2012

AM Update: Storm Wrap-Up, Lawmakers on Veterans and Foster Care, Reduced Water Restrictions

Sunday's Storm Affects Austin Roads, Power

As much as four to five inches of rain fell over Austin and Round Rock last night.

About two and a quarter inches were recorded in downtown Austin.

Heavy rains required the Lower Colorado River Authority to open some floodgates at the Tom Miller Dam to keep Lake Austin within its operating range.

About 20 Austin Energy customers remained without power late this morning. At 8 p.m. Sunday, the storm knocked out power to as many as 5,000 Austin Energy customers.

Austin Police shut down Lamar Boulevard around MLK because a tree fell onto power lines and broke a utility pole. Austin Energy crews are working to repair it.

The City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management lists a couple of road closures due to water over the roadway. Spicewood Springs is closed from Loop 360 to Old Lampasas and Old Spicewood Springs Road is closed. Click here for a current list of road closures.

Lawmakers to Look at Texas Foster Care, Veteran Health Care and Benefits

Texas lawmakers are meeting today to hear testimony on the Texas foster care process and the quality of mental health care for Texas Veterans.

The Senate will be taking a closer look at the Texas Veterans Commission’s Claims Representation and Counseling program. Senators will also hear about the status of mental health services for veterans and the Texas National Guard.

The House Human Services Committee is meeting to monitor the implementation of Foster Care Redesign. The department gave new contracts to non-profit organizations to help the foster care process, save money, and provide better outcomes for kids in the program.

The Senate committee meets at 1:30 p.m. at the capitol. The House committee meets at 10 a.m. in Temple.

Stage I Water Restrictions to Begin Today

Stage I Water Restrictions begin today in Austin. That means residents will now be able to water twice a week. The city has been under Stage II Water Restrictions since last September but has received a wetter than expected winter and spring.

The rain has increased storage volumes of Lakes Travis and Buchanan, and because water is being cut off to rice farmers downstream, those levels will be better maintained.

Central Texas is still in a drought, but Austin Water spokesperson Jason Hill says it’s important for people to protect our landscaping and tree canopy while still being mindful of water usage.

There will still be no watering before 5 a.m. and after 7 p.m. on certain days. Residential customers with odd numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays and Thursdays and Sundays for even. Commercial and multi-family customers can water on Tuesdays and Fridays.