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...and afternoon text update

It's time to thaw out, Austin. The National Weather Service reports most of the Austin/San Antonio area will stay above freezing for the next seven days, with a few spots getting into the 29-32 degree range on Sunday night.

The city's final Hard Freeze Warning expired at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and Central Texans can expect highs into the 50s as the record-breaking winter storm finally leaves the region.

For the first time in over a week, the Texas Department of Transportation's interactive map is completely clear of ice and snow warnings across Austin. The map appears to have no road closures to report as well, although KVUE reported that the right main lane of U.S. 83 will be closed in both directions from U.S. 290 to Manor Road until 3 p.m.

Although the Hard Freeze Warning is expired and the sun is quickly melting snow and ice, TxDOT Austin has yet to announce that the city's roadways are clear of hazards. The City of Austin issued a warning at 9 a.m. on Saturday that black ice may still be present, making for hazardous road conditions and slippery surfaces. The city still recommends that residents travel with caution and only go out into roadways if necessary.

As melting snow and ice leaves the roads, Austin Public Works director Richard Mendoza said per a KXAN report that residents may also see more potholes across town due to expanding and contracting groundwater under roads.

With bluer skies ahead, TxDOT's Austin district announced Saturday morning that it will be resuming construction in several areas in the upcoming days and weeks.

These projects will result in the following closures:

  • Southbound I-35 frontage road left lane closed at Stassney Lane from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Northbound I-35 frontage road reduced to one lane from FM 3406 to the RM 1431 exit (#256), through early 2021
  • Northbound I-35 bypass lane closed at Parmer Lane through early 2021
  • Northbound to southbound I-35 U-turn closed continuously at Rundberg Lane through October 2021
  • Northbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover closed continuously- Friday, Feb. 26 from 9 p.m. through Sunday, Feb. 28 at 11 a.m.
  • Northbound I-35 frontage road right lane closed from FM 1626 to Kyle Crossing through late 2021
  • Northbound I-35 Posey Road exit (#199) closed until further notice
  • Northbound and southbound I-35 rolling closures nightly from Williams Drive to SH 130- from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m through Sunday, Feb. 28
Residents can report potholes or other road obstructions to the Austin 311 app. Other transportation updates can be found on TxDOT Austin's Twitter.


(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

(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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