Cold Weather

snow day
12:36 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Austin's Snow Day 2011 Offers Rare Chance for Sledding

Dee Meador shows off his friend's Flexible Flyer at the hill behind Murchison Middle School on February 4, 2011.
Photo by Matt Largey/KUT.

Hundreds of people flocked to Murchison Middle School this morning for the chance to sled on fresh powder.  Cardboard boxes, Tupperware tops and even a Big Wheels tricycle with cardboard duct taped to the wheels passed for sleds.

Meantime, in Butler Park near the Palmer Events Center...

snow day
12:15 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Snow Closures, Delays for February 4, 2011

Travis Heights residents woke up to a blanket of snow this morning Photo courtesy of KUT Listener Mary Parmer

Updated at 12:15 pm: People are out in the streets playing in the snow this morning! A winter storm warning is in effect until noon today.  Austin police say there is ice on some roads and that some cars are slipping and sliding.  APD says there are more accidents out there this morning than usual.  Police have closed eastbound SH 71 in the 19500 block, due to icy conditions.  APD have also barricaded the intersection of East 8th St. and San Jacinto Blvd., because of icy condition at that hilly intesection

Most streets in Austin are clogged with compacted snow and ice, making for very slick conditions. In the past 12 hours, Austin Fire Department has responded to about 100 collisions.

AFD reports 50 alarm activations, many of which were related to broken water pipes.  Learn how to shut off the water to your home by watching this video.

There are some flight delays and cancellations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, as well.  Check with ABIA or your carrier for up-to-date information.  Capital Metro busses are operating on a Sunday service level.  No MetroRail or UT shuttles service today.

Read our list of closures here:

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snow day
12:14 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Central Texas Snowfall Amounts Ranged From 0.5 To 2 Inches

Snow is beginning to melt in some areas that are receiving direct sunlight, like here, at Dean Keaton and Guadalupe Streets.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The National Weather Service released snowfall totals for towns and cities in Central Texas. (Here's how they measure it.) These numbers are from 10:42 a.m. 

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snow day
9:30 am
Fri February 4, 2011

Pictures Of Austin Winter Snow Storm 2011

Here are photos from our users. We have even more here.

Here are photos of snow downtown and the State Capitol Austin from KUT's Nathan Bernier.

KUT's Ben Philpott took video of this truck that got stuck.

Slipping and sliding on Lavaca St.

cold weather
5:18 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

How To Shut Off The Water To Your Home


The city is urging people to locate the shutoff valve for their water mains in case pipes burst and begin spewing water. City of Austin crews have responded to at least 335 calls for lost water service since Tuesday.

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cold weather
1:05 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Live Blogging ERCOT News Conference

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is holding a news conference to discuss yesterday's events. Follow it live here.

cold weather
12:47 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

State Regulator Declares End To Power Emergency

The dark clouds of yesterday's power emergency are clearing, ERCOT says, but winter weather is still expected to cause some travel delays.
Nasha Lee, KUT News

The rolling power outages are over, but the state's energy regulator would still like for you to conserve electricity.  The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says it is ending the emergency procedures it put in place early yesterday mornin

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cold weather
12:28 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Forecast Now Calls For One Inch Of Snow Or Less

Photo of National Weather Service map

An updated forecast from the National Weather Service suggests the snowfall may be so light that it melts as soon as it touches the ground.

SNOWFALL TOTALS OF A DUSTING TO AROUND ONE INCH ARE FORECAST OVER THE EASTERN HILL COUNTRY AND AREAS ALONG THE I-35 CORRIDOR.

You certainly shouldn't expect to be doing this.

COLD WEATHER
5:45 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Texas Grid Still 5,000 Megawatts Short, More Rolling Outages Possible Tonight And Tomorrow

The cold weather that has people bundling up on the University of Texas campus could prompt more rolling power outages tonight and tomorrow.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

The periodic power outages mandated by the state's power grid operator could continue this evening and tomorrow.

"The grid continues to have more than 5,000 megawatts of generation out of service due to the effect of the extreme cold," the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a statement.

Fifty power generation units across the state stopped working overnight, ERCOT said, leading to an initial 7,000 megawatt loss of generation capacity. ERCOT said it was prohibited by market regulations from revealing which power plants they were.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell stressed at a late afternoon news conference today that Austin Energy was not among them.

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cold weather
3:49 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Steps You Can Take To Reduce The Likelihood Of Rolling Outages

Image by KUT News

The rotating power outages that afflicted Austin today are over for now, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), but the energy regulator says there is a strong likelihood they could resume tomorrow.

"Without this safety valve," ERCOT said in a statement, "generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a state-wide outage."

Here are measures ERCOT says you can you can take to lower your power consumption and help reduce the need for rolling outages.

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cold weather
3:32 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

How Are You Dealing With The Cold?


KUT News sent out interns Mario Carrillo and Liang Shi to ask people how they're dealing with the frigid winter weather. Let us know how you're coping in the comments section!

cold weather
2:25 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Cold Weather Could Slow Afternoon Traffic

Image Courtesy of Solar Images. http://www.flickr.com/photos/solarimages/

Cold weather and power outages could snarl rush hour traffic this afternoon.  Some intersections, like the one at 6th and Lamar, were backed up for blocks because traffic lights went out.  City official recommend driving with caution.

"They're going to come across some signals that are dark," City of Austin Public Works spokesperson Sarah Hartley told KUT News. "Maneuver them the same way they would a four way stop sign. It's going to be just like your good old traffic education that you learned when you got your license. If it's a four-way stop, the people on your right are the first to go and just alternating turns."

As the power gets restored in each intersection, the stoplight initially flashes red before returning to its normal light cycle.

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cold weather
1:46 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Austin Energy Says Rolling Outages Are Over...For Now

Ice on the ground on Whitis St. in Austin
Image by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Updated at 5:27 pm: Rolling outages implemented by the state's energy regulator are over, but the state's energy regulator is warning people that emergency outages could return.  About 7,000 megawatts of generating capacity went offline last night due to cold weather. The Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked local utilities to draw down their consumption to help distribute the load, leading to rolling power outages across the state.

"ERCOT has issued a notice that rotating outages are no longer needed at this time; however, there is a strong possibility that they will be required again this evening or tomorrow, depending on how quickly the disabled generation units can be returned to service," ERCOT's Dottie Roark said in an email. "Energy conservation is still critical during peak demand hours this evening between 6 and 10 pm. "

Now that rolling outages are over, Austin Energy crews are able to address lingering isolated outages. If your power is still out, call 322-9100.  Here's an Austin Energy map showing power outages across town.

Politics
1:16 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Statement From Governor Perry On Rolling Power Outages

The Governor speaking at an event last year.
Image by KUT

Gov. Rick Perry's office sent us this statement:

"Because of winter weather conditions that have created an unprecedented demand on the state's energy grid, many Texans across our state are experiencing power outages today," Gov. Perry said. "Texas power and emergency management experts are working very closely with ERCOT and various utility providers to ensure power is restored as quickly as possible. Until that happens, I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event."

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cold weather
12:37 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Texas Power Outages Caused By 7,000 Megawatts Going Offline

Cold weather caused ice to form on this water fountain at the University of Texas at Austin. The frigid temperatures are being blamed for rolling power outages that afflicated Texas throughout the day.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

More than fifty electricity generation units stopped working overnight because of severe weather, reducing capacity by 7,000 megawatts and leading to the rolling power outages across Texas today.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has asked utilities and transmission providers like Austin Energy to implement the rolling power outage underway now.

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cold weather
12:01 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Hospitals, Clinics Keep Appointments Despite Power Outages

The emergency department at Brackenridge Hospital is up and running.
Nathan Bernier, KUT

Power generators kicked on as they were supposed to at Seton Medical Center Williamson and the Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital, according to spokesperson Matilda Sanchez. Both hospitals are fully functioning.

Austin Regional Clinic, which operates eighteen clinics across Central Texas, has been affected by the rolling outages but is asking patients to keep their appointments. 

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cold weather
11:26 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Here Is Where You Can Find Information on Power Outages In Austin

Image courtesy Austin Energy

We linked to it in an earlier post, but we want to make it as clear as possible about where to find this information. Austin Energy provides data on power outages through its Customer Outage Portal.

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