LIVE BLOG: Central Texans wait in long lines at water distribution events as outages continue

russellfalcon

AUSTIN (KXAN) — While electricity and water are increasingly being restored across Central Texas, several thousands of residents are still awaiting both.

A boil water notice remains in effect for the city of Austin.

ESSENTIALS

WATER: Places you can get free water around Austin, surrounding areas
FOOD: These are the places you can get free food in Austin surrounding areas

7:44 p.m. Sunday

Capital Metro announces it will resume all normal service hours, starting Monday. The transportation had to adjust its schedule last week during the winter storms.

7:11 p.m. Sunday

We have currently received 69,216 cases of water to distribute throughout #ATX.

Distribution as of 2/21 at 5pm:
1️⃣ Critical facilities, shelters, etc. = 17,136 cases
2️⃣ Vulnerable populations via City partners = 14,448 cases
3️⃣ Residents through distribution sites = 19,068 cases pic.twitter.com/tBJgtk1T0B

— City of Austin (@austintexasgov) February 22, 2021

7 p.m. Sunday

The Public Utility Commission of Texas issued several orders Sunday aimed at protecting Texans from extremely high electric bills after a week of winter storms.

Texas utility commission orders delay of power disconnections due to concerns over high bills

For several days, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has maintained that state leaders “have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills” following the storms that left millions without power or water for an extended period of time. Abbott said Sunday around 30,000 Texans are still without electricity.

The PUC called an emergency meeting to prevent possible utility disconnections for non-payment as early as Monday. The delay is an effort to “protect Texas electricity customers while leaders in the state consider solutions for the financial aftershocks of the winter storm grid event,” according to a release.

Read more here.

5:08 p.m. Sunday

Thank you for all you are doing! Conservation is key to maximize the amount of water going into the reservoirs. We need a minimum of 100 million gallons in storage to help build pressure system-wide. Currently, we are at 90 million gallons and rising! #AustinWater pic.twitter.com/5xnwSFxm97

— Austin Water (@AustinWater) February 21, 2021

4:45 p.m. Sunday

Latest update on Austin/Central Texas power outages.

4 p.m. Sunday

On Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott addressed the state from San Antonio to give the latest on relief efforts for residents in the wake of the devastating winter storms.

The Sunday afternoon briefing comes a day after Abbott met with other state officials to discuss concerns over possibly costly energy bills for residents after the weather. Abbott provided an update on emergency efforts to get all Texans power, water and food.

Safe drinking water and water service, in general, remains the biggest issue affecting Texans. Abbott says “water is being restored to communities across the state.”

Here’s a full update on the state’s emergency efforts.

3:30 p.m. Sunday

Austin Public Health restarted COVID-19 operations Sunday after a week’s worth of winter storms canceled vaccine and testing appointments, while also limiting data entry for the area.

Austin’s COVID-19 operations resume after being sidelined by winter storms

APH says vaccinations resumed Sunday and additional sites will expand back to normal operation throughout the week. APH is working to reschedule vaccine appointments for the estimated 3,300 people who had appointments canceled starting Feb. 13.

COVID-19 testing will resume Monday morning.

2 p.m. Sunday

Austin Energy: 22 active outages and 450 total customers affected. A total of 99.91% of customers now have power.

Oncor: 1,216 active outages and 19,449 affected customers.

Pedernales: 68 active outages and 137 total customers affected. A total of 99.961% of meters have power.

Bluebonnet: 28 active outage and 74 customers affected.

1:39 p.m. Sunday

CapMetro will also add a shuttle at Oak Hill Plaza so customers can access water distribution site at Austin Community College’s Pinnacle campus.

1:01 p.m. Sunday

Austin’s boil water notice will remain in effect until further sampling can be done and it’s deemed safe to drink, Austin Water says. There is currently no specific time for test results to be clear, but it generally takes 24 hours.

Just stopped by the Lakeline Station water distribution site in north Austin, which ran out of water a few moments ago.

Volunteers here told me more water is on the way, and it should arrive in 1.5 and 2 hours. @KXAN_News pic.twitter.com/rprAIfyiAf

— Will DuPree (@willrdupree) February 21, 2021

CapMetro has added a temporary bus stop on William Cannon Drive near the Onion Creek Soccer Complex water distribution site. Customers can ride from there to the distribution site.

12:43 p.m. Sunday

Dripping Springs ISD has cancelled classes for Monday, Feb. 22. Classes on Tuesday, Feb. 23 will be 100% remote. On Wednesday, the district says classes will return to normal.

Noon Sunday

The City of San Marcos has lifted the boil water advisory for all water customers. According to the City, testing confirmed its safety.

Additionally, the City of Georgetown has lifted its boil water notice for the 3,00 customers in the following areas: the Westinghouse area bound by IH-35 to FM1460 (about 1,700 customers) and Liberty Hill (1,300 customers). The 720 or so customers in the Florence area are still in the boil water advisory, the City says

11:22 a.m. Sunday

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke joined Austin City Council member Greg Casar at a water donation event at Northeast High School located 7104 Berkman Drive, where residents can drop off water to be distributed to the homebound elderly.

10:36 a.m. Sunday

Bastrop County will host several potable water distribution events on Sunday. Guests should remain in their vehicles and water will be brought to them. Locations are:

Bastrop County Transfer Station, 601 Cool Water Drive, Bastrop: Open until 5 p.m.Recreation Center, 106 Gazley Street, Smithville: Open until 4 p.m.Bastrop County Road Maintenance, 192 Fohn Road, Red Rock: Open until 5 p.m.Cedar Creek Annex, 5785 FM 535, Cedar Creek: Open until 5 p.m.Elgin Recreation Center, 361 N. Highway 95, Elgin: Noon until supplies gone

Additionally, Bastrop County will hold two non-potable water distribution events. Guests will be able to fill up to five gallons per person into their own container(s). This water will need to be boiled before use for drinking or cooking. Locations are:

Aqua Water Supply, 386 Highway 304, Bastrop: 1 to 5 p.m.ESD 1 Fire Station, 214 Fohn Road, Red Rock: 1 to 5 p.m.

10 a.m. Sunday

The City of Austin water distribution at the Austin Community College Pinnacle campus that was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. will be delayed until 11 a.m., the City says.

Free water available at 10 Austin sites on Sunday for residents who can’t purchase or boil water

Nine other distribution sites — all intended for area residents who are most vulnerable and who can’t purchase or boil water — will also open at 11 a.m.

The ACC Pinnacle campus saw long lines already formed hours ahead of water distribution (KXAN/Mark Batchelder)

9:20 a.m. Sunday

Austin Energy: 12 active outages and 342 total customers affected. A total of 99.93% of customers now have power.

Oncor: 1,505 active outages and 18,879 affected customers.

Pedernales: 73 active outages and 274 total customers affected. A total of 99.921% of meters have power.

Bluebonnet: 1 active outage and 1 customer affected.

Meanwhile, in Georgetown, the City says all customers should have water, except in some areas of Florence. There, water should be restored today, although boiling and conservation is still critical, the City says. At least 15,900 customers have been removed from the boil water notice, while 3,720 are still under it, the City reports.

The City said the Saturday night outage that left over 12,000 customers without power was caused by damaged equipment at a substation. According to the City on Facebook, power was restored at 11:55 p.m.

11:30 p.m. Saturday

The winter storms did damage to Texas homes. Contractors and plumbers will be busy for weeks with repairs, meaning local homeowners will be waiting weeks before things get back to normal.

Texas homeowners with broken pipes, other damage face contractor delays

KXAN investigative reporter Kevin Clark went to Williamson County to report on the issues some homeowners are facing.

Read the full story here.

10:50 p.m. Saturday

The City of Austin issued emergency water use restrictions as Austin Water works to build up its reservoir. Thousands of Austinites are still without running water.

On Saturday night, Austin Water reported it has 60 million gallons of water in storage. “For a healthy system, we need to maintain a minimum of 100 million gallons in storage,” Austin Water’s website says.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reports more than 14 million Texans are under a boil water notice.

We know many are wondering why it’s taking so long to restore water. The recovery process involves many factors, but can be simplified to 3 key steps: Stabilizing infrastructure, testing & sampling & normal operations. Read more in our operational report: https://t.co/lIaBG0K66h

— Austin Water (@AustinWater) February 20, 2021

10 p.m. Saturday

Many Central Texas schools are planning to be closed to start next week after the winter storms caused devastation to school buildings.

Central Texas schools face extensive damage following winter storm

KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout reports that 17 Leander ISD schools have damage with five being significantly damaged, but the aftermath of the winter storm stretches further than that.

Click here for more of the story.

8:45 p.m. Saturday

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said state leaders “have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills” following a series of winter storms that crippled the state this week.

Gov. Abbott says state leaders must protect Texans from ‘skyrocketing energy bills’

According to a spokesperson — “legislators focused on the need to quickly calculate the total cost of energy bills and how the state can help reduce this burden. The call ended with a discussion about addressing the immediate needs of Texans and how to ensure that Texans are protected long-term.” 

7:55 p.m. Saturday

The City of San Saba has rescinded its boil water notice. The city says the water has been tested and is clear.

7:50 p.m. Saturday

A power outage is affecting 12,313 customers in Georgetown Saturday night, according to a city spokesperson.

Power outage in Georgetown leaves 12K in the dark

The spokesperson says “it is too early to determine what is causing it.”

Check the Georgetown outage map for more updates.

7:15 p.m. Saturday

Travis County Judge Andy Brown has issued an order prohibiting vehicle washing services until Thursday, Feb. 25 due to the low water supply throughout Travis County.

Travis County Judge prohibits car washes until Feb. 25 after residents question operation during water crisis

“We’re working across the county to ensure water is restored to all of our residents,” Judge Brown said in a statement. “That is why we’re asking businesses to put their car washing services on hold until we can get this critical water supply to our entire community.”

“It is outrageous that at this moment, anyone would be washing a car,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

KXAN received several reports of local car wash business operating on Saturday. The City of Austin’s Water Conservation team says there is a $250 fine for the first offense of violating the water restrictions.

6:30 p.m. Saturday

 The Austin Fire Department provided a breakdown of calls for the past 24 hours (Friday at 12 p.m. to Saturday at 12 p.m.)

Collisions/Rescues: 64/1Wires arcing/down: 16Public Assist: 26Alarm Activations: 191Fires: 2Broken Water Pipes: 168

Total 911 calls for service for AFD jurisdiction: 1,086
Total 911 calls for service for Travis County: 296

6 p.m. Saturday

Have you wondered how hard your #ATCEMSMedics have worked this week? Here’s the final incident summary for the 2021 Winter Storm. #ATCEMS would like to thank all of our hard working medics, who went above & beyond the call of duty this week. We could not be more proud of them! pic.twitter.com/i2ApU8FUWG

— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) February 20, 2021

5:45 p.m. Saturday

The following is a release from the City of Georgetown.

The City of Georgetown has lifted the boil water notice for affected customers in the following areas:

Leander Road/FM2243 area, from Southwest Bypass to Garey Park and the Parkside Parkway area, from FM 2243 to Sam Bass Road (1,300 customers)D.B. Wood Road/Hwy. 29 area, bound by I-35, D.B. Wood Road, Hwy. 29, and Williams Drive. The includes the area of Booty’s Crossing Road, Serenada Neighborhood, portions of Berry Creek Neighborhood, and Wolf Ranch Northfork and Southfork (3,600 customers)Areas west of Georgetown, including Santa Rita, Northlake, and Andice (about 11,000 customers)

Customers in the following areas are still in the boil water advisory:

The Westinghouse area bound by IH-35 to FM1460 (about 1,700 customers)Florence (720 customers)Liberty Hill (1,300 customers)

4:55 p.m. Saturday

We received several reports of local car washes operating on Saturday while thousands in the city are without water.

KXAN News reached out to city and county officials asking if there was any guidance sent to businesses regarding water conservation.

Austin residents question car washes operating during water crisis; City says they shouldn’t be

“Under the Boil Water Notice Austin is under, mandatory conservation requirements are in force,” said a statement in part from an Austin Water spokeswoman. “Residents and businesses should implement all appropriate restrictions to save water.”

Read the full story here.

4:40 p.m. Saturday

All Hays CISD classes are canceled through Tuesday.

“We are still experiencing some issues, particularly with water damage or no water at all, at more than half of our campuses (18 of 25). We also know our families and staff members need time to recover personally from the continuing fallout of this week’s winter storm,” a district spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said some extracurricular activities may be able to resume depending on the group’s access to potable water. Campuses and buildings are open for teachers or staff members who need to enter the buildings to retrieve materials, including items to help them plan for reopening on Wednesday. 

4:05 p.m. Saturday

Texas emergency management officials are working to provide safe, drinking water to Texans across the state.

Officials provided an update on the state’s winter storm response Saturday afternoon. Read more here.

Texas emergency management leaders focus on clean water with state in recovery mode

3:50 p.m. Saturday

Austin Community College will remain closed until 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. All in-person and online classes as well as in-person and remote work until then are canceled.

3 p.m. Saturday

The City of Austin reports the follow cold weather shelter updates:

Palmer Events Center — FULLDel Valle High School, Mendez Middle School, and Reilly Elementary School — 24-hour shelter capacity

All in-person, online and remote classes/work at Austin Community College will be closed until 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

2:25 p.m. Saturday

Austin Energy: 188 active outages and 4,966 total customers affected. A total of 99.03% of customers now have power.

Austin Energy reports that customers should not expect to see massive electric bills as a result of the winter storm, saying it will evaluate the cost of buying electricity from ERCOT, minus the net revenue from generating electricity during the winter event.

Oncor: 2,843 active outages and 41,788 affected customers.

Pedernales: 137 active outages and 693 total customers affected. A total of 99.807% of meters have power.

Bluebonnet: 121 active outages and 121 total customers affected.

If water begins to flow, move on to your next faucet or bib and repeat the same process. If water does not flow you might have a frozen pipe that needs to thaw. Ensure all lines are flushed to remove air or debris. When closing faucets, take care to close them slowly.

— Austin Water (@AustinWater) February 20, 2021

11:20 a.m. Saturday

Austin Energy: 225 active outages and 4,948 total customers affected. A total of 99.03% of customers now have power.

Oncor: 3,081 active outages and 49,980 affected customers.

Pedernales: 125 active outages and 1,437 total customers affected. A total of 99.483% of meters have power.

Bluebonnet: 28 active outages and 28 total customers affected.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
🌡️Don’t rapidly heat your home, set it at 68 or even lower!
💡Turn off most of the lights
🔌Turn off or unplug any fixtures or appliances
⚡Conserve to keep the power flowing!

— Austin Energy (@austinenergy) February 20, 2021

11 a.m. Saturday

10:35 a.m. Saturday

Lake Travis ISD has cancelled all classes for Monday, Feb. 22. All schools and district offices will remain closed to the public through Monday.

Meanwhile, Leander ISD, which plans to hold classes in-person (where possible) on Monday, will hold a meeting Saturday night to announce the plan for next week.

9:45 a.m. Saturday

When we lost storage in all reservoirs across the city, it triggered a city-wide boil water notice. We need a minimum of 100 million gallons in storage to help build pressure system-wide. Currently, we are a little more than halfway there and climbing! pic.twitter.com/EtaoCH4nKX

— Austin Water (@AustinWater) February 20, 2021

9:20 a.m. Saturday

Oncor reports there about 9,000 remaining outages although crews have restored power to over 51,000 customers. The company reports 40,000 outages remain.

Austin Energy: 221 active outages and 6,045 total customers affected. A total of 98.82% of customers now have power.

Pedernales: 112 active outages and 917 total customers affected. A total of 99.738% of meters have power.

7 a.m. Saturday

Capital Metro will operate Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. For updates, visit CapMetro.org/Winter.

6:40 a.m. Saturday

As of 6:40 a.m. Saturday, here are power outages by provider.

9 p.m. Friday

As of 9 p.m. Friday, the Austin Water outage map showed eight of its service zones still experiencing outages. Meanwhile, two zones — central and southeast areas of Austin — are experiencing low water pressure.

FRIDAY LIVE BLOG: Under 15,000 Austin Energy customers without power as of Friday night

Stay connected. Download the KXAN Weather App (Apple|Android)




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