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LIVE BLOG: Traffic accidents, power updates and more on the winter weather

(Laura Figi/Austonia)

With wind chill temperatures dipping to near-zero on Austin Friday morning, it's clear that the city's bout of winter weather still isn't over.


From power outages to comfort foods, here's everything you need to know about this winter storm.

5:16 p.m. Friday—State of Disaster declared for Austin

The City of Austin and Travis County have declared a local State of Disaster for the area due to the winter storm.

“This disaster declaration will allow us to continue our winter weather response over the next several days, as we look to transitioning to recovery efforts," Travis County Judge Andy Brown said.

View the declarations here:

1 p.m. Friday—Temperatures rise above freezing 

Temperatures have risen above freezing for Austin, but be prepared for another frozen night. Lows tonight will dip to 19 degrees before more sun on Saturday brings temperatures over 40 degrees. Temperatures will continue to slightly warm up into the beginning of the week.

12:30 p.m.—147 flights canceled in Austin

After Austin-Bergstrom International Airport had the third most canceled flights yesterday, fewer flights have been canceled on Friday.

Still, 147 total flights at ABIA have been canceled on Friday, and there are 47 delays, per tracking site FlightAware.

11:16 a.m. Friday—AFD responds to 298 incidents in 24 hrs of the storm

The Austin Fire Department has updated the public that they have assisted with 298 incidents from 9 a.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday—128 of those incidents were from Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

11 a.m. Friday—Abbott gives an update on the Texas power grid

Gov. Greg Abbott and state leaders said the electric grid is holding strong during a Friday morning meeting as he thanked the Texas Legislature for making improvements to the grid to make it “better” than last year.

Outages shrunk from around 70,000 homes Thursday to about 20,000 still without power statewide as of mid-Friday and are most likely to be caused by downed power lines. According to ERCOT, demand peaked around 8 a.m. this morning at 69,000 MW—last year’s freeze capped out at 77,000 MW.

Though electricity conditions remain stable, Abbott is still advising Texans to keep off the roads as conditions could still be dangerously icy. Abbott said three people died on roads yesterday, so if you find yourself stranded, call 1 (800) 525-5555.

10:13 a.m. Friday—100% of Austin residents have power

All Austin residents have power mid-morning, Austin Energy is reporting. The latest update comes as the sun is thawing ice on power lines.

The Winter Storm Warning ended at 10 a.m. this morning. View a live map of outages here.

8:32 a.m. Friday—356 Austin households without power

As most Austinites have been with power in the storm, 356 woke up without power at 8:32 a.m.

Austin Energy is reporting three outages with 343 customers in the Anderson Mill area affected.

View a live map of outages here.

10:30 p.m. Thursday—14-car pileup reported on I-35

After a day of icy road conditions, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services reported a 14-car crash on North I-35 near Interstate 290 at around 10 p.m. Thursday night.

No major injuries were reported, and one person with minor injuries was treated at the scene after refusing to go to the hospital.

Austin officials recommend avoiding travel through Friday morning due to icy roadways, especially on bridges and overpasses.

Friday morning—Icy roads expected to persist

Prominent Austin roads including I-35, Highway 71, Highway 45, US 290 and US 283 have all been flagged with ice warnings by the department through at least 9 a.m. Friday, per a live map at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

TXDOT Austin said the department is working to deice roads. But with temperatures continuing to dip, officials told residents to avoid travel whenever possible.

Friday—City of Austin closes all services

The City of Austin announced Thursday afternoon that it would be closing all nonofficial city services Friday.

Services including trash pick up, libraries, COVID vaccine and testing sites, and parks, except for emergency shelters, will be closed due to winter weather.

8:36 p.m.—Winter Storm Warning extended through Friday morning

Although you won't see any wintry precipitation on Friday, the National Weather Service's Winter Storm Warning has been extended from ending at 9 p.m. to lasting through 10 a.m. Friday.

Friday will be a sunny day, in which hazardous conditions can form from ice thawing.

24/7—Warming centers open for winter storm

The coldest temperatures are yet to come so 185 warming centers are open across the state with seven in Austin. Transportation is available by calling 311. The following will be open 24 hours per day until severe weather clears:

  • Dove Springs Recreation Center - 5801 Ainez Drive
  • Dittmar Recreation Center - 1009 W. Dittmar Road
  • Gus Garcia Recreation Center - 1201 E. Rundberg Lane
  • Givens Recreation Center - 3811 E. 12th Street
  • Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center - 2608 Gonzales Street

Warming centers at Cowan Elementary, 2817 Kentish Drive, and Wooten Elementary, 1406 Dale Drive, will be open from 9 a.m-9 p.m. on Friday.

5 p.m.—H-E-B stores close early

H-E-B stores in North and Central Texas are closing early Thursday amid freezing temperatures. (Andrea Guzman/Austonia)

Central Texas H-E-B stores, including Austin stores, close early today at 5 p.m. as a precaution.

“At H-E-B, our top priority is taking care of Texas, and we are committed to help our fellow Texans in any situation our company and communities might face,” the grocer said in a statement.

Out-of-stock items are to be replenished, and curbside and home delivery may have limited availability in certain areas, H-E-B said.

4 p.m.—Fire Department update

The Austin Fire Department had a busy day assisting with a total of 128 accidents.

4 p.m.—Wintry mix pushes east

The sleet and freezing rain that have translated to ice accumulating across Austin should push east of I-35 by 4 p.m., the National Weather Service said Thursday.

“For areas along the I-35 corridor, including the Austin and San Antonio metros, the wintry mix precipitation impacts could end around between 4 and 6 p.m. later this afternoon,” the service said. “Once precipitation ends, a cold air mass will take place all over with overnight lows in the teens and 20s with wind chills in the single digits across a good portion of the area.”

But with no chance to melt, ice-related issues will continue into Friday as temperatures fight to rise above freezing.

Lunchtime—Thaw out with these delicious comfort foods

Down some hearty meals, including this vegan mushroom wild life soup, as you wait for the weather to warm back up.

You're already watching the winter storm ice over Austin: might as well have warm food in your belly while you're at it.

Pass the time while cooped up with these five comfort foods:

  • Blackberry, bacon grilled cheese
  • Jambalaya
  • Sheet pan chicken tikka with cauliflower and chickpeas
  • Spicy pork ramen noodle soup
  • Vegan mushroom wild life soup
Click here for the mouthwatering recipes.

~11 a.m.—Abbott assures Texans that power grid is "reliable"

The roads in downtown Austin are nearly completely empty with prevalent ice. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

It looks like the cold weather will not cause a repeat of last year’s deadly storm as Gov. Greg Abbott said the “Texas electric grid is the most reliable and resilient than it has ever been,” and is even expected to have a 10,000 MW surplus.

This is one of the most severe icing events of the past few decades in Texas, so stay off the icy roads, report broken pipes, drip your faucets and call your energy provider if you experience an outage.

Click here for more on Abbott's statement and the state of the grid.

~8 a.m Thursday—Power outages begin

In the downtown Seaholm District, the lights remain on Thursday morning as seen on the tree lights. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

By 8 a.m. Thursday, around 1,000 Windsor Park residents had a rude awakening as they were met without power for much of the morning. As of 11 a.m., there were about 70,000 power outages in the state, mostly due to ice or fallen trees on power lines.

As of 1:24 p.m., 99.90% of Austin Energy customers have power.

Click here for an outages map.

~9 a.m. Tuesday-present—Bitcoin facilities shut down mining to conserve energy

Riot Blockchain says it has decreased its power consumption by 98-99%.

Bitcoin facilities are slowing down mining operations to ease the strain on the Texas power grid as the state battles freezing temperatures. Some, like Central Texas’ Riot Blockchain Inc., signed onto a Texas Blockchain Council letter to Gov. Abbott saying they’re taking measures to create additional energy capacity.

Riot told Austonia Wednesday afternoon that the company was using 1-2% of power. It will continue to do so until “there is no extreme stress on the ERCOT grid.”

Click here for more on Bitcoin facility shutoffs.

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Rainbow on the creek, Rupi Kaur and motor rallies: What to do in Austin this weekend

(Camp Nowhere/Instagram)


Friday

🎸 Camp Nowhere 2022

Calling all Porter Robinson fans–now is the time to see the electronic artist in Austin alongside six additional up-and-coming artists in the genre. The mini-fest moves to Dallas the next day and you can get tickets starting at $25.

4:30 p.m. Friday | Germania Insurance Amphitheater, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd.

💰 Coindesk Consensus

Held for the first time in Austin, Coindesk Consensus promises to be the “SXSW of crypto,” with more than 300 speakers slated to talk about Web3, blockchain and the Metaverse. Fidelity Investments CEO Abby Johnson, Edward Snowden and Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao will speak. Tickets start at $99 for a virtual pass or $1,299 for general admission.

Times vary Friday-Sunday | The Fairmont & Austin Convention Center, 101 Red River St.

🏍 Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally

Embrace your inner biker for an extended weekend at the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally, which is being held in Bastrop for the first time. Live music, rides and motorcycle acrobats will keep you entertained! Tickets start at $25.

Times vary Thursday-Sunday | Mere’s Reserve, 1141 FM 969 Farm-To-Market Rd.

🖼 Summer Strut

Link & Pin has invited some of its favorite local artists to display their work during the 2022 Summer Strut, which runs all weekend through Aug. 28, to give them some exposure.

1-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday | Link & Pin Gallery, 2235 E. 6th St. #102.

Saturday

🗿 Do Not Post exhibit

This exclusive three-week show kicks off on Saturday, running through June 26, featuring never-before-seen large-scale work from owner Lisa Russell’s private collection. The works will all have limited exposure, and be displayed together for the first time—pictures will not be allowed. Free private walkthroughs can be scheduled at sales@wcc.art.

1-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday | West Chelsea Contemporary, 1009 W. 6th St #120.

🌳 Poetry in the Park

Poetry in the Park is returning for a second time under the shady trees at Republic Square. As a platform for local poets and spoken word artists, this weekend's theme will focus on Pride Month and Juneteenth.

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday | Republic Square, 422 Guadalupe St.

🎙 Rupi Kaur World Tour

Catch Canadian poet, illustrator and mind behind the poetry book “Milk and Honey,” Rupi Kaur, in Austin. Get tickets for the famous “Instapoet” starting at $39.

8 p.m. Saturday | Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Dr.

🌈 Rainbow on the Creek

Celebrate Pride Month during a day in the sun with your fellow Austinites at Moody Amphitheater. The free daylong festival will feature Pride-themed activities and LBGTQIA performances.

12-9 p.m. Saturday | Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, 500 E. 12th St.

🎶 The Sounds of The 60’s Tour

Reminisce in the music of the ‘60s at the Cedar Park H-E-B Center, featuring tunes from The Drifters, The Platters + Cornell Gunter’s Coasters.

7:30 p.m. Saturday | H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, 2100 Ave of the Stars.

Sunday

💃 Salsa & Heritage Festival 25th anniversary

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to learn about the shared African roots of Puerto Rico and Mexico at the Salsa & Heritage Festival. Tickets are $30 the day of the festival, $24 for early birds.

3-8 p.m. Sunday | JCC Austin Ballroom, 7300 Hart Ln.

🚗 Realty Texas 2022 Car Show

Help benefit the Williamson County Food Bank while you enjoy a day full of cars, live music, bouncy houses and food. Plus, you can enter your car for a chance to win a trophy. Tickets start at $10.

9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday | Realty Texas, 2000 S I-35 Frontage Rd Suite P.