Austin-Travis County prepares for potential winter storms

The city of Austin and Travis County are making sure their crews are prepared in case the area sees another devastating disaster like the February winter storms. 

"To make sure that we are anticipating what we should anticipate and make sure that we are learning all the lessons that we can learn from what happened earlier this year," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

On Wednesday more than 150 people from various city and county agencies along with outside companies like H-E-B met in order to go through hypothetical situations and scenarios which come with natural disasters. 

"We’re talking about creating hubs and centers throughout the region that are pre-stocked with water and food, so it’s available out in neighborhoods," said Adler.

"In an effort to be better prepared for a winter emergency or any other natural disaster that could hit our region," said Travis County Judge Andy Brown who was also at the event.

The city and the county modeled their plans on what went wrong during Winter Storm Uri earlier this year. This plan includes having better communication for residents, supply chain management, recovery, transportation, and utilities. 

Besides power outages, the lack of water was a big issue during the storm. "I’m glad to hear that Austin water now has some generators set aside for the pump facilities that failed last time because of lack of power and caused water outages," said Brown.

Mayor Adler and Judge Brown said part of the reason they’re doing this exercise is because of how they feel about the state’s power grid which failed during the storms.

"I am not confident the grid won’t fail, and I wish at the state level we were doing more it’s a hard in the assets to make sure the generation around the state doesn’t go down," said Adler.

"If we had the same storm that we had I’m not confident. I don’t think the folks statewide have done enough to change things from the situation of where it was last year," said Brown.

The city and the county recommend people have plans of their own in case of natural disasters like Winter Storm Uri, including having enough water to last about three days, extra food, batteries and first aid supplies.

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