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Cold Weather Resources in Austin

From the Office of Austin City Council Member Greg Casar

Published onFeb 19, 2021
Cold Weather Resources in Austin

COLD WEATHER RESOURCES IN AUSTIN, TX

This document was prepared by the Office of Austin City Council Member Greg Casar.

Share this document: bit.ly/austincoldresources


City of Austin Information: http://austintexas.gov/weatherinfo

Follow for updates: Facebook聽/ Twitter聽/ Instagram



JUMP TO A SECTION:


NUMBERS & CONTACTS


Purpose

Phone Number / Contact

Shelter Information

512-305-4233

Transportation to a Shelter

3-1-1 or email [email protected]
Provide your name, phone number, address, number of people needing transport and medical needs.

If your water main is broken

512-972-1000

Emergency Food

2-1-1

Medical or Life Threatening Emergency

9-1-1

Volunteer with Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN)

Sign up at https://bit.ly/keepaustinwarm聽512-806-0800



RESOURCES


Department

Link

Austin Energy Outages

https://austinenergy.com/ae/outages

Austin Water Tips

bit.ly/atxwatertips

TxDOT Highway Conditions

https://drivetexas.org

City of Austin Resource Site

http://austintexas.gov/weatherinfo

WWW Austin: Food, restaurants open, etc.

Where to find free drinking water in Austin





If you are currently without power:聽



Warming Centers & Shelters聽

The City has opened warming centers for those vulnerable Austinites who have gone without power, heat, or water. These are subject to change. For the latest please call 512-305-4233.聽


Bring food and blankets if you go to a warming center or shelter. Warming center and shelter locations sometimes have been moved out of areas because of lost water or power.


Northeast High School and Webb Middle School are currently not shelters because of water and power outages.


Church Shelters (open 24x7):

  • The Austin Stone, 1150 McNeil Rd., Round Rock, TX 78681

  • Point Community Church, (Pet accommodations - must be crated), 11300 Old San Antonio Road, Manchaca, TX 78652

  • Mosaic Church, (No pet accommodations), 12675 Research Blvd., Austin, TX 78759

  • Friendship Creekside, (Pet accommodations - must be crated), 14455 FM 1826, Austin, TX 78737

  • Hill Country Bible Church, (Pet accommodations - must be crated), 12124 Ranch Road 620 N., Austin, TX 78750

  • University Ave Church of Christ, (Pet accommodations - must be crated), 1903 University Ave., Austin, TX 78705

  • Hope Chapel, (Pet accommodations - must be crated), 1508 Ruth Ave., Austin, TX 78757

City of Austin Shelters (open 24x7):

People with pets will not be rejected. Pets will receive accommodation through Animal Services.

  • [AT CAPACITY] Palmer Events Center (Central), 900 Barton Creek Road, Austin, TX 78704

  • Del Valle High School (Southeast), 5201 Ross Road, Del Valle, TX 78617

  • Mendez Middle School,聽5106 Village Square Drive, Austin, TX 78744

  • Reilly Elementary School, 405 Denson Dr, Austin, TX 78752

  • AFA Union Hall, 7537 Cameron Rd, Austin, TX 78752

City of Austin - Warming Shelters (9AM-9PM):

People with pets will not be rejected. Pets will receive accommodation through Animal Services.

  • Lee Elementary School - CENTRAL, 3308 Hampton Road, Austin, TX 78705

  • Murchison Middle School - WEST, 3700 N. Hills Drive, Austin, TX 78731

  • Joslin Elementary School, 4500 Menchaca Road, Austin, TX 78745

  • Barrington Elementary School, 400 Cooper Dr, Austin, TX 78753 (low water pressure in the bathroom at this location, may want to consider other locations)


UT Students:聽Visit https://emergency.utexas.edu/聽for up-to-date information on warming centers, dining venues, and Student Emergency Services.



Tips While at Home

  • Stay warm by:

  • Layer up!

  • Keep freezers & refrigerators closed

  • Group together in one room and keep that room as warm as possible

  • Put blankets under doors to avoid heat loss, cover windows if possible

  • Keep your phone as charged as possible

  • Help prevent a system overload if you don鈥檛 have power:

  • Turn off thermostats and appliances if you don鈥檛 have power

  • Shut off or unplug any fixtures that are connected

  • Leave only one light on to know when the power is back on.

  • Please DO NOT:

  • Use a gas stove or oven for heat, this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Leave open flames (stoves, candles, fireplaces etc.) unattended

  • Sit in your car with the heat on in your garage, this can poison you







If you have power

Please help us conserve energy, which will help Austin鈥檚 electricity come back on:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees or lower if you can.

  • Turn off lights and unplug any appliances or electronics that are not being used.

  • Don鈥檛 run large appliances if you do not have to.

  • Use as little natural gas as possible to avoid a shortage


Also you can help by hosting a friend or neighbor in need, socially distanced and masked.





Austin Water:聽

Austin Water is asking all Austinites (who have water service) to reduce water use as much as possible, and to boil water before consuming it.


If people use too much water, it will only create more challenges providing clean water.


Even still, many people don鈥檛 have water or don鈥檛 have a way to boil it. More info below:


If you are without water:

  • As an emergency measure, if no other water is available, snow can be melted for water according to the CDC. Bringing water to a rolling boil for two minutes will kill most germs but won鈥檛 get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow. If boiling snow for water, try capturing the freshest snow and avoid snow from roads, drains, or similar locations.

  • See if a report has already been made using the Water Leak Response Map聽If the leak/outage has not been reported, call 512-972-1000 immediately.

  • Turn on all your water faucets if your water is off, to avoid pressure building up in your pipes, leading to further issues.

  • If pipes at your home have burst, turn off your water at the cut-off valve. If you are unable to locate your valve call 512-972-1000 for assistance.聽

  • If you cannot boil water/ice because you鈥檙e without power/gas, and you don鈥檛 have water to drink, get to a friend or family member鈥檚 house and take COVID precautions, or get to a shelter if needed: bit.ly/austincoldresources

If you have water, you need to:

  • Boil your water, if you are able, for at least two minutes.

  • As an emergency measure, if no other water is available, snow can be melted for water according to the CDC. Bringing water to a rolling boil for two minutes will kill most germs but won鈥檛 get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow. If boiling snow for water, try capturing the freshest snow and avoid snow from roads, drains, or similar locations.

  • Avoid showers or running large appliances like dishwashers or washing machines as much as possible

  • Turn off dripping faucets indoors and outdoors. Wrap your pipes with paper or newspaper instead.

  • Don鈥檛 store more water than you need for you/your family鈥檚 safety. If people use too much water, it will only create more challenges providing clean water for everyone.

  • If you cannot boil water/ice because you鈥檙e without power/gas, and you don鈥檛 have water to drink, get to a friend or family member鈥檚 house and take COVID precautions, or get to a shelter if needed: bit.ly/austincoldresources

It is unacceptable that people are in this position, and there must be accountability at every level of government about what has happened. But we must focus right now on getting through this, and the only way we can do that is together.


We are working on getting water to our community members. We will also demand all commercial consumers to cut down their usage. Our public employees are working around the clock on this. Contact Austin Water to report outages & follow them for updates.


Your water may be out because of a public water line being out, and Austin Water does not have information on when those will be fixed. Water may also be out because of damage to your own property, which needs to be fixed by a homeowner/landlord.


The City is bringing in truckloads of water from outside of Austin to distribute to those in need. Details will be released soon about this emergency operation.





Emergency Food Distribution for Friday

  • Navarro High School (1201 Payton Gin Rd)- 2:30p

  • Millennium Center (1156 Hargrave)- 2:30p

  • Dove Springs Rec Ctr (5801 Ainez)- 1:30p

  • Dailey Middle (14000 Westall)- 3p

Trucks of emergency water on the way, distribution operation coming soon.




We need volunteers

Warming Centers

The warming centers are staying open right now because of the generosity of volunteers. But not enough volunteers have signed up, and this threatens closure of the locations. For anyone who is able to volunteer at a warming center, please fill out the volunteer form (https://bit.ly/keepaustinwarm) for the Austin Disaster Relief Network or contact ADRN at 512-806-0800.

Even though the website says shifts are 12 hours long, you can volunteer for a shorter amount of time. Sign up for a shift, and let the staff know at the location how many hours you can stay. Dress warmly and drive safe if you volunteer. Thank you!

4x4/Off Road Vehicles

The City of Austin and Travis County needs 4x4/Off-Road Vehicles to help them transport emergency workers, goods, supplies and more to critical sites. Sign up to be on call: https://bit.ly/3bcUmoV





Where to Donate:






What is happening?


From Greg Casar, Austin City Council District 4:

1pm February 18th

Update I got from Austin Energy: AE employees are out in the cold trying right now to turn power on for those out the longest, especially the red areas on the outage map: https://austinenergy.com/ae/outages

AE is trying to get all the red areas power as quickly as possible *today.* Everything is dynamic and subject to change, especially if the state orders any more power off during this process or if there is really major storm damage to an area.

Anyone who is experiencing outages represented by a smaller individual dot on the outage map may be without power for longer periods of time as crews clear debris and address individual areas. Orange areas could get done today or may take longer depending on conditions.


If you do not see your household on the map, Austin Energy probably *does* know that you are out of power, but it still helps to report your outage here: https://austinenergy.com/ae/outages

Austin has experienced some of the most extreme versions of the extreme weather in the state, and that鈥檚 why it鈥檚 more difficult to get power back on compared to some other places in TX. ERCOT mandated outages and local infrastructure damage are both harder to address given conditions.


I have not yet been briefed by the water utility today. What is happening with our water system is terrible, and we will keep you posted on updates as we receive them. Make sure to follow Austin Water. Our guide has info for those without water/power: https://bit.ly/austincoldresources


1:15pm February 17th

According to Austin Energy: The state has now given Austin Energy permission to restore more customers. Austin Energy has now been able to restore 16 circuits (areas of homes). Customers who have been without power the longest are being prioritized. However, this power will NOT stay on indefinitely due to anticipated grid conditions continuing.


Remember, if your power was off and then your power comes back on, do NOT immediately crank up your thermostat, turn on every light or plug everything back in. Please give the circuit time to power up completely so it doesn鈥檛 shut down again. Read more here.


February 16th

The outages are largely caused by power plants, mostly natural gas-powered, across Texas getting shut down by extreme weather, while demand for energy has spiked. Without enough power on the grid, we risk electricity getting shut down for every person in Texas. In order to stop the entire state from having its power shut down for weeks, the state grid operator is ordering utility companies to shut off power: 鈥渂lackouts.鈥 These shut-off orders in Austin have not been 鈥渞olling鈥 blackouts. The state has basically required, according to Austin Energy, longer-term shut downs.


Austin Energy says they are not able to turn 鈥渙ff鈥 the circuits that are currently 鈥渙n鈥 (in order to provide relief to those who are freezing cold) because those other circuits that are 鈥渙n鈥 right now are either 1) sustaining a hospital, fire station, water treatment plant or 2) can鈥檛 be turned off without threat of the system not turning back on.


This situation is beyond unacceptable, and I鈥檓 furious. Our statewide power grid was severely underprepared for this crisis. Furthermore, communications at all levels of government have continued to fall short when the public needs us most.


I am asking for Austin Energy to turn on power for those in the cold as soon as possible, even if it鈥檚 only temporary.聽I am urging the City, County, and Governor to use emergency powers to turn off power for non-critical businesses to provide relief to more of our cold neighbors. Empty office towers and empty shopping malls should be turned off, so we can try to use that electricity to heat homes. We may not be able to do that for a whole circuit, for the reasons explained above, but we should do it for individual, large empty buildings.


On the other side of this storm, we must ask hard questions about what got us here, locally and statewide. We must hold people accountable. But for now, my focus is on helping people stay safe and getting power restored as we manage this crisis.


State authorities think this could last into the night and beyond for many Texans.

Last Updated: 8:30 AM on Feb. 19, 2021聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 聽 聽 聽

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