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Austinites see long waits and low supplies at grocery stores ahead of freezing temperatures

Shoppers wait in line at H-E-B in East Austin Wednesday afternoon. (Andrea Guzman/Austonia)

After spending days without water, heat and other necessities during Winter Storm Uri a year ago, Central Texans are bracing for the worst again.

With tomorrow's expected sleet, freezing temperatures and wind gusts, people flocked to grocery stores, stocking up on goods to last through the severe weather. Although Gov. Greg Abbott has said the state is prepared, skeptical shoppers are preparing for a loss of power anyway.

Austonia staff visited grocery stores Wednesday to see what conditions are like around Austin, and here's what we found:

H-E-B, 1000 East 41st St.

A worker at this store by the University of Texas at Austin said they usually don't see much traffic in the morning, but today, people were waiting outside when doors opened. But shoppers may have a hard time finding some items. The worker added that truck deliveries have been later than usual, arriving two or three hours late from the typical 10 a.m. arrival. Plus, if you're looking to stock up on produce, this store has been low on fruits and vegetables.

Windsor Park resident Jamelik Queen changed her usual shopping schedule in anticipation of freezing temperatures tomorrow, moving up her typical errand a day so she could stay in on Thursday. "I'm definitely concerned," Queen said, referencing the 246 death toll reported by Texas officials from last year's storm. According to other reports, deaths were actually more than 750. While her power stayed on then, she says her power often goes out during the heat, one time even staying off for a week.

Suseth Munoz, from the Rio Grande Valley, is a resident assistant at UT Austin. Early Wednesday afternoon, Munoz was stocking up on canned food and water for herself and to share with others, expressing worry that she'd lose power. During her about 40 minute wait in the check-out line at the E. 41st H-E-B, Munoz said she felt dread about the coming freezing temperatures.

"I'm kind of angry we have to do this, especially when a lot of this could have been avoided if we had tackled the electrical grid when the Texas Legislature was in session," Munoz said. "It's definitely a government failure and it's kind of angering and frustrating."

Walmart, W Slaughter Lane

Lines are longer than usual at this Walmart on Wednesday, but the store appears to have much in stock with some exceptions. On food, there's a chicken shortage and boxed foods like pasta and ramen are running low. Toilet paper is also running on short supply.

H-E-B, 2701 E 7th St.

Shopping at this H-E-B might be a little hectic. Reporter Laura Figi found a line out the door when she stopped by early afternoon Wednesday.

Trader Joe's, 211 Walter Seaholm Dr. 

Food essentials like eggs were in low supply at the Trader Joe's Downtown as of Tuesday night.

H-E-B, 701 S Capital of Texas Hwy.

This H-E-B in Westlake saw empty produce shelves on Tuesday night.


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