City to open short-term safe havens for community during severe weather

The City of Austin will extend the hours of dozens of Parks and Recreation and Public Library facilities on March 2 to help anyone who needs a safe place to wait out the expected thunderstorm. 

A total of 20 recreation centers and four public libraries will remain open until 10 p.m., by which time the worst of the storm is forecast to have passed Austin.  

A full list of the locations opening late can be found at

The National Weather Service has warned of severe weather threats across most of Central Texas, including Austin, Thursday evening. Risks include damaging winds, with gusts of up to 60 mph, large hail and possible isolated tornadoes. 

The most severe impacts of the storm are expected be felt in Austin between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

RELATED: Power outages possible Thursday due to high wind, damaged trees, Austin Energy says

Here are some essential emergency preparedness steps and tips for severe weather: 

  • Make a plan: Create an emergency plan with your family that includes designated meeting spots and emergency contacts. Make sure everyone knows what to do and practice your plan.  
  • Build an emergency kit: Prepare an emergency kit with essentials such as non-perishable food, a flashlight, water, first-aid supplies, and any necessary medications. Don't forget to include supplies for pets.  
  • Know Your Neighbors: By knowing your neighbors and building a strong network, you can increase your community's readiness level in an emergency. 
  • Stay informed: Keep your cell phone charged or a battery-powered radio to monitor local weather conditions. Sign up for emergency notifications from to receive important information during emergencies. 
  • Protect your property: Secure loose items such as outdoor furniture and garden tools that could become dangerous projectiles during high winds. Keep trees trimmed to prevent damage from falling branches. 
  • Seek shelter: If severe weather is approaching, seek shelter in a safe location such as an interior room on the lowest level of your home. Go to the safest location in your home such as a room with no windows or exterior walls.
  • Turn off utilities: Know how to turn off gas, water, and electricity in case of an emergency. 


Track your local forecast for the Austin area quickly with the free FOX 7 WAPP. The design gives you radar, hourly, and 7-day weather information just by scrolling. Our weather alerts will warn you early and help you stay safe during storms.