The report examined the city and county's preparation, planning, and response to the February 2021 winter storm as well as its impacts. More than 100 documents and plans, surveys, and interviews with staff were analyzed for this report, according to the city.
The report offers 132 recommendations to ensure the community is better prepared and better served for the next major emergency. Austin Energy and Austin Water also conducted internal assessments of their infrastructure, operations, and communications during the event and are already implementing actions to prepare for the coming winter season.
"This work builds on the strengths that were observed during this worst-in-a-generation event and makes recommendations for improvements to enhance community preparedness," the city said in a press release.
Key recommendations include:
- Revised planning assumptions to account for multiple-hazard events with cascading impacts and infrastructure failure.
- Coordination with critical stakeholders about the potential for adding resilient water infrastructure for hospitals and City and County facilities.
- Identifying a list of shelters with durable infrastructure, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), spaces to accommodate large groups, backup power, and water.
- Developing a comprehensive disaster feeding plan.
- Determining practical solutions for stockpiling or accessing enough shelf-stable meals and water for targeted distribution.
- Selecting locations that can function as medical shelters.
- Identifying cost-effective solutions for upgrading public safety vehicle fleet to function in various weather events.
- Developing a transportation plan for vulnerable populations
- Implementing a revised roadway clearing plan for winter storms.
- Evaluating the government's inventory of snow and ice removal materials in the Austin-Travis County area.
The Austin City Council will receive a briefing at their Thursday, Nov. 4 meeting and the Travis County Commissioner’s Court will discuss winter preparedness plans during a future Commissioners Court meeting.