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(Isabella Lopes/Austonia file photo)

Austin is due to see unusually warm weather despite Punxsutawney Phil, the nation's most famous groundhog, missing his shadow and predicting six more weeks of winter this year.


In Central Texas, February is usually one of the coolest months of the year with the average high not reaching over 65 degrees. On Wednesday, however, the temperature in Austin will reach the mid-70s, well over the monthly norm.

Windy conditions on Thursday could bring gusts up to 20-30 mph.

On Thursday, Austinites will experience the warmest weather seen in quite some time with temperatures soaring to 82 degrees throughout the day and partly cloudy skies.

After the extreme temperatures for this time of year, a cold front is expected to roll in on Thursday night bringing the temperatures back down to the season's average range with a high of 65 and a low of 44 degrees on Friday.

Saturday will have partly-cloudy skies and slightly warmer weather with temperatures reaching 70 but will drop to 41 as another cold front sweeps through the region, bringing Sunday's low down to 39 and the high to 65 degrees.

Punxsutawney Phil hasn't always had the best track record when it comes to accurately predicting winter weather, especially in Austin, where temperatures are warmer for most of the year.

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(Laura Figi/Austonia)

When Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he would rescind business capacity limits and a statewide masking mandate on Texas Independence Day, he framed it as a step forward. "With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny," he said during a press conference at a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock.

But some local restaurants and bars, which have been caught in the regulatory crosshairs since Texas' first positive COVID test 364 days ago, have chosen to ignore Abbott's overture. Instead, they will continue to maintain pandemic precautions once the executive order takes effect next week, citing a desire to keep their staff and patrons safe.

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(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Austonia has hired Claire Partain as a reporter covering Austin FC, the MLS expansion team that will be Austin's first major league sports franchise.

Partain is a former sports editor for the The University Star, Texas State University's daily newspaper. She edited, covered sports, produced podcasts, and hosted a pre-game TXST football tailgate live series. Partain has been freelancing with the company since January, prior to accepting a staff position.

A native of Fairfield, Texas, Partain grew up playing youth soccer. In her high school years, she played alongside her mother in what was then called the Freestone County Hispanic Women's Soccer League.

Claire's coverage philosophy: "I like to bring out the humanity of sports, and I want to make this the most accessible sports coverage possible."

She notes that soccer is the predominant sport for young people. "It's a global sport, and we're more connected to the world than older generations."

That approach fits the team's already visible presence in Austin, says Austonia CEO Mark Dewey. "Austin FC has established itself as a leading Austin brand, one that stands for a more unified Austin community, a bigger global presence for Austin and fun. Austonia shares those values."

Partain's soccer coverage begins immediately, with her free, hosted text service—Austonia FC. For updates, special access and inside info, all moderated by Claire, sign up below.

Austonia is the city's independent, free, locally-owned and all-digital source for Austin news, information and entertainment.

Connect with Austonia through its daily email newsletter and text updates, @austonianews Instagram feed, @austonianews and @austinist Twitter feeds, @austonianews Facebook page and its website austonia.com.

(Jordan Vonderhaar)

Austin Public Health will release another batch of first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Thursday on Wednesday evening. A department spokesperson estimates between 3,000 and 4,000 slots will be available.

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