Central Texas weather: City preparing for potential severe storms

City of Austin departments are preparing for potential severe weather expected to impact Central Texas Thursday afternoon into early morning Friday.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Hays County, Bastrop County, Caldwell County and Travis County until 10:45 p.m.

The FOX 7 Austin Weather Team is tracking light showers in the early morning hours and there is a chance for a severe storm or two, mainly to the east of Austin, this afternoon before things clear up. 

Then there will be a second wave of energy as a cold front moves through. Strong to severe storms are more likely tonight into early Friday, says FOX 7 Austin meteorologist Adaleigh Rowe.

The city is also urging the community to be aware, get ready, and stay safe.

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Austin 3-1-1 

To report current flooding issues, traffic signals out, or debris in the roadway, residents can call Austin 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000.

Austin Public Works crews are on standby to respond to weather-related 3-1-1 requests during the duration of the storm, including clearing tree limbs and debris blocking streets to ensure access for emergency services vehicles.

Austin Energy 

Severe weather could cause outages if limbs and branches connect with power lines. Austin Energy is preparing crews to respond to the potential weather and outages.

Outages can be reported online, by texting OUT to 287846 or by calling 512-322-9100.

Stay Safe Around Downed Power Lines

  • Consider all wires energized and dangerous. Even de-energized lines may become energized at any time.
  • Stay at least 35 feet away from downed lines.
  • Never touch a downed power line or anything in contact with a power line.
  • Never use any object to move a downed wire.
  • Downed power lines can be reported by calling 512-322-9100. Find more safety tips here.

Be Prepared

Power outages can happen for a variety of different reasons, severe weather being one of them. Here are ways to be prepared, no matter the situation:

Spring festival season and SXSW  

SXSW has announced that SXSW Community Concerts will be moving this evening’s KUTX Rockin’ Near The Shores show from Lady Bird Lake to Ballroom A of the Austin Convention Center, at 500 E Cesar Chavez St. The show will begin at the new location at 6 p.m.

The City urges unpermitted or unofficial events to monitor weather and adjust any outdoor plans or installations for safety of staff and attendees.  

Preparing for strong winds

City crews have been working since Wednesday evening to secure temporary traffic control signs and barricades. Additional sandbags were deployed Thursday morning across the City, but strong winds could still overcome those efforts. 

People in the area should use caution when strong winds are imminent.

Emergency preparedness steps, tips

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.  

For all emergencies:

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. Check for emergency notifications and planning information from Warn Central Texas, Ready Central Texas and the city of Austin.