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Top Morning Stories February 2, 2011

Folks on the UT campus this morning are bundled up for the cold weather.
Photo by KUT News.
Folks on the UT campus this morning are bundled up for the cold weather.

Statewide Power "Emergency" Means Rolling Power Outages in Austin

You may be wondering why your lights are out this morning.  Austin Energy is doing rotating cut offs.  The state’s power grid operator ERCOT is requiring this.  The state’s power grid couldn’t keep up with demand early this morning because some power plants went offline.  Austin Energy says the lights are expected to be out for about 45 minutes at a time in certain neighborhoods.

Austin Energy says some people are reporting their power has been off for more than 45 minutes.  AE says one reason for that may be that there are some regular power outages out there.  In a press release, the utility said once the statewide emergency is over, people who still don't have power should report their outages by calling 322-9100. 

Be careful as some street lights may also be out.  The utility doesn't know what time the blackouts will end today.  People are encouraged to limit their electricity use to help lower demand.

Four Leander ISD schools have canceled school today because of the outages. Those schools are Steiner Ranch Elementary, Bush Elementary, River Ridge Elementary and Canyon Ridge Middle School. All other LISD schools will be open.  A dozen Austin ISD schools do not have power as of 8 a.m., but there are no delays or cancelations according to a spokesperson from AISD.

Pflugerville ISD high schools will release school at 10:30 a.m. All Pflugerville ISD elementary and middle schools will release at regularly-scheduled early release times.

Bundle Up!! It's Cold Out There!

Austin started the morning at 18 degrees, but with the brisk winds it feels like 4 degrees outside.  Central Texas is under a wind chill advisoryuntil 11 a.m.    Don't forget the hat and gloves today, it's going to be windy with highs around 30 degrees. 

Tonight, expect it to be a couple degrees colder with lows near 16.  If you're counting on making a snowman before this winter is over, Austin has a 40 percent chance of snow Thursday night into Friday morning.

Sprinklers Left Some Patchy Ice on Roads

Austin police told KUT News this morning that TXDOT is putting sand down in a few areas including the 4600-4800 block of North Lamar and the 6400 block of the westbound Highway 290 frontage road because of ice on the roads.  APD said some businesses in those areas left their sprinklers on overnight as the temperatures dropped below freezing.

Shelter Needs Doggie Winter Wear

The Town Lake Animal Center says it is in need of new or gently used doggie coats or sweaters, especially for small dogs.  Donations can be dropped off any time at the TLAC at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St.  For more information you can call 3-1-1.

Blanton Curator Heading to National Gallery

A curator at The Blanton Museum of Artin Austin is heading to Washington, D.C.  Jonathan Bober, senior curator of European Art, is leaving to become curator and head of the Department of Old Master Prints at the National Gallery of Art.

"Over his 23 years of dedicated service, Jonathan Bober has made an exceptional contribution to The Blanton.  His focus on, and great passion for deepening the museum's collection of prints and drawings and paintings from Europe, has distinguished him in numerous ways," said Blanton Director Ned Rifkin.

Bober will leave The Blanton on April 30.