Fri January 24, 2014
Winter Weather Snarls Austin; Schools and Universities Cancel Classes
Update: The winter weather advisory for the region has expired. While temperatures are rising about freezing this afternoon, and freezing temperatures are expected again tonight, which will re-freeze any leftover wet spots.
While emergency services say they’ve responded to more than 250 crashes since the freeze began, no fatal crashes have been reported.
Capital Metro will remain on a Saturday schedule for the rest of the day.
The Austin school district says it will resume normal operations at 5 p.m. The district also says it will make up today’s cancellation on June 6. Austin Community College says it will reopen tomorrow.
Update (6:47 a.m.): Austin-Travis County Emergency Management Services is reporting that they've responded to over a hundred crashes since the wintry weather began.
The service says there have been no fatal crashes reported. "If you must drive, please drive safely," they say.
TxDOT is reporting that I-35, Mopac, 190 and other major roadways and bridges in the region have ice and snow on bridges and overpasses, and is discouraging travel until the weather warms up later today.
Most schools in the region are cancelling classes today. School districts closed for the day include:
Austin, Bastrop, Burnet, Del Valle, Dripping Springs, Eanes, Elgin, Georgetown, Hays Consolidated, Hutto, Lago Vista, Lake Travis, Leander, Lockhart, Plfugerville, Round Rock and Smithville ISDs. East Austin College Prep, KIPP Austin, and IDEA Public School campuses are also closed.
Colleges and universities closed include:
The University of Texas, Austin Community College, Huston Tillotson University, St. Edwards University, Southwestern University, Texas State University’s San Marcos and Round Rock campuses. Marble Falls ISD is operating on a two hour delay and does not plan to close.
The City of Austin and most state facilities are also closing today. Hays County and Round Rock offices are also closed, but Georgetown officers are open. Round Rock Demand Response Bus Service is also canceled.
The Austin Police Department is urging people to stay off the road unless travel is essential. Assistant Chief Steve Deaton says if you must be on the road, to cut your speed in half and slow down even more for overpasses and bridges.
“We had over a hundred collisions last night. Thank goodness none were fatal and only a few had injuries," Deaton says. "But we do anticipate that traffic is going to pick up in the morning. We’re hoping the weather will warm and some of these roads will start to thaw. But that’s probably not going to happen until closer to noon.”
Capital Metro is operating on Saturday service level and schedule today and the UT Shuttle is not operating.
At least 32 Friday morning flights have been canceled at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
Austin Energy is not currently reporting any outages.
EARLIER: A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until noon Friday for all of South Central Texas. In the Austin area, a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow is forecast overnight. Sleet and some snow flurries started falling in the area around sundown Thursday.
National Weather Service forecaster Pat McDonald said accumulation would be limited, but said even small amounts of accumulation make driving more dangerous.
The Austin Independent School District canceled Thursday’s district-sponsored after-school activities. AISD an announcement regarding any changes to Friday’s school schedule would come by Thursday at 9:00 P.M. Updates are posted on AISD's website. In addition to the Winter Weather Advisory, the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the area until 8 p.m. Sustained winds of between 26 and 39 miles per hour are expected. Such wind speeds can also make driving more difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.
The weather also has been affecting flight schedules. At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, more than two dozen flights were cancelled Thursday, both arrivals and departures, with other flights facing delays. Planning to travel? You can check for delays and cancelations on ABIA’s website.