Central Texas weather: Check power outages in your area
AUSTIN, Texas - Many are still without power in the Austin area after a winter storm in Central Texas.
As of 8:04 a.m. on February 3, 122,781 Austin Energy customers were without power.
Austin Energy officials had said it hoped to restore power by 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, but now say it is not possible to provide an estimated time that all power will be restored.
Crews are prioritizing power restoration to critical organizations and working to get the greatest number of customers online in the least amount of time.
Check for power outages in your area here.
This morning, we have seen the number of outages go down and back up again. Austin Energy officials say that's because they have been fixing lines only to discover new outages further down the line.
Local officials are planning to hold a news conference on Friday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. to provide an update on efforts to restore power. We will bring it to you live on air and online.
Local officials held a news conference on Thursday morning to address operational updates and recovery efforts.
Mayor Kirk Watson said, "I want to acknowledge that, like so many of our residents, I've been frustrated. I've been frustrated by the lack of power in our homes, including mine. And I've been frustrated and disappointed the communication that I feel should have been better with the people in the city."
Both Mayor Watson and Travis County Judge Andy Brown said they lost power during the storm. Judge Brown said his family slept at his mother's house, and he asked others to lean on family and friends and check on neighbors.
"Just like last time, we'll get through this together," Brown said.
Power outages "not related to a statewide grid issue"
Austin Energy says it is working to restore power and that the outages are due to winter weather and not related to a statewide grid issue. The utility says ice is accumulating on power lines, utility poles, and tree limbs which is leading to the outage.
Officials say the Austin area is seeing a quarter to a half inch of ice.
Austin Energy says in advance of the storms it prepared with additional staff and resources, but that challenging conditions may slow down power restoration efforts. Crews are driving on icy roadways and working with frozen equipment, officials say.
During Uri, Austin Energy said they were able to restore power during ERCOT's outage. The issues also weren't as widespread – they were mainly confined to the west side of Austin.
This time, ERCOT said that it was monitoring the weather conditions and that it expected sufficient generation to meet forecasted demand. You can check real-time grid conditions here.
Safety tips during a power outage
Austin Energy encourages customers to stay safe during a power outage and offers the following tips:
- Call 911 if you have a medical emergency or your life is at risk. Do not wait for your power to be turned back on.
- Never go near a downed power line or touch a limb on top of a downed power line. Call 512-322-9100 to report downed power lines.
- Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
- Report power outages and receive updates by text message. Text REGISTER to 287846 to get started. Austin Energy will send you proactive texts during outages to keep you informed. To report an outage, text OUT to 287846 or call (512) 322-9100. The outage map updates roughly every 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Austin Fire Department tweeted out that the issue for them shifted from collisions to ice on power lines. Since 3 a.m., AFD says it has responded to 76 reports of wires arcing.
AFD says people should not call 911 for general flashes of light in their neighborhood but to call for specific addresses with wires down or fire.
RELATED COVERAGE: Texas winter weather photos: Ice accumulation causing issues
How to check if your area is experiencing a power outage
- Austin Energy covers the Austin metro area. To report an outage in Austin, click here or text OUT to 287846. You can see all the power outages in the Austin area on Austin Energy's power outage map.
- Bluebonnet customers can call 800-949-4414 to report an outage. To see power outages in your area, click here.
- Georgetown Utility System customers can report outages by calling 512-930-3640. To check outages in the area, click here.
- Oncor customers can report an outage by texting OUT to 66267, use the MyOncor app, or select "Report an Outage" in the Oncor power outage map. You may also call 888-313-4747 to report your outage.
- Pedernales Electric customers report an outage. You may also see outages in your area by clicking here.
For customers of other electric companies, you can see a full list of where to report outages here.
How to stay warm when the power is out
The National Weather Services has the following tips:
- Close blinds or curtains to keep in heat.
- Close off rooms to avoid wasting heat.
- Wear layers of warm clothing.
- Eat and drink; food provides energy to warm the body; avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
Other tips from officials on what to do in an outage include:
- Keeping refrigerator and freezer closed as long as possible to prevent food from spoiling
- An alternative would be to store food in a Styrofoam container or cooler with a bag of ice
- American Red Cross says food is safe 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below
- Charge your cell phone and other electronic devices with a car charger. Just do not do it with the garage shut.
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.