Central Texas weather: Downed trees, power lines leaves thousands without power

More than 200,000 Central Texas residents have lost power on Thursday.

Low temperatures with precipitation have left ice on everything including trees, causing them to snap.

The mayor of Lakeway said those fallen limbs are keeping their emergency crews busy.

"Our team is working hard to identify where the roads are being blocked because you don't want to have a fire truck unable to respond to an emergency because they can't negotiate around a down live oak," Lakeway Mayor Tom Kilgore said.

He said the other main concern is people without power.

"As the storm continues, and we lose more and more tree limbs, we're losing more power, more circuit breaker boxes are going, more circuits are failing," Kilgore said.

Austin Energy is trying to keep up with the demand to restore power, but the combination of icy trees next to power lines is causing problems.


"There's so much weight on these trees, even at the highest parts of the canopy that even the parts that have been trimmed back into the safety zone that 15 ft away from the power lines we're seeing that they're still presenting problems because they're so tall that by the time they fall down the canopy they can break other limbs that then fall into the power lines," Austin Energy spokesperson Matt Mitchell said.

It's left hundreds of crews with Austin Energy and CenterPoint Energy from Houston all over the city of Austin working to restore power for more than 200,000 people.

"It's an all hands on deck situation," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said unlike two years ago during that winter storm, Austin Energy doesn’t have problems with the grid, there’s plenty of power generation.

"This is mother nature decided that Austin and Central Texas was the place where this, this icy precipitation was going to accumulate and have this kind of effect," Mitchell said.

J.P. Poe in Georgetown said their power has been on and off since early this morning. He said they learned from their experience two years ago and were prepared today.

"We actually have emergency puck lighting and lantern that we use for light throughout the house," Poe said. "Everybody wraps up in blankets or puts a comfy sweater on, a snuggie, whatever we got."

Mitchell said some people may be in the dark for 24 hours.

FOX 7 Austin asked Mitchell about burying power lines, he said it isn’t practical because it’s cost prohibitive and the limestone in Texas makes it very difficult to install.