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An ice storm hit the Austin area the week of Jan. 30. Hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses lost power as ice-covered trees toppled power lines across the city.

Winter storm prompts Austin-area school cancellations; city to open cold weather shelters

A map showing ice accumulation potential in Central Texas. The Austin area could get between 0.25 and 0.5" of ice.
National Weather Service
A map shows ice accumulation potential in Central Texas.

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The Austin area is under a winter storm warning until Wednesday at noon.

The National Weather Service says some areas could see as much as three-quarters of an inch of ice accumulation over the next couple days. Driving conditions could be hazardous, especially in the overnight and early morning hours when temperatures are at their lowest. NWS is discouraging travel over the Hill Country and Austin metro area Monday afternoon through Wednesday.

Bridges and overpasses are likely to freeze first, since cold air is able to pass over and underneath them, making their surfaces colder.

Officials with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services said they're expecting an increase in crashes as freezing rain continues across Central Texas.

Selena Xie, president of the Austin EMS Association, told KUT that medics were concerned about freezing rain overnight — particularly on overpasses.

“I think everybody, if possible, cancel your plans … through Wednesday afternoon. And if you do have to go out, try to avoid overpasses – especially at night where you can’t see and tell what the road conditions are going to be like,” she said. “Our ambulances are going to be avoiding overpasses as much as possible, and I would just encourage everybody to do the same.”

Capital Metro said it was expecting service delays because of the weather.

School closures and cancellations

Many school districts, including Austin and Round Rock ISDs, have canceled extracurricular and after-school activities Monday. Other districts — like Hays CISD, San Marcos CISD and Del Valle ISD — are dismissing students early.

The following districts have canceled classes Tuesday:

  • Austin ISD
  • Del Valle ISD
  • Dripping Springs ISD
  • Elgin ISD
  • Georgetown ISD
  • Hays CISD
  • Hutto ISD
  • Jarrell ISD
  • Leander ISD
  • Lockhart ISD
  • Pflugerville ISD
  • Round Rock ISD
  • San Marcos ISD
  • Texas School for the Deaf

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Hays CISD announced it would also be closed Wednesday. For additional updates on schedule changes and districts not listed here, check the district’s website.

UT Austin and Austin Community College also canceled Tuesday classes. Huston-Tillotson said classes would be held online.

A pedestrian crosses South Congress Avenue on a gray and rainy day.
Michael Minasi
A winter storm warning has been issued for the Austin area and surrounding Hill Country.

City services

Local power outages due to ice on power lines and falling tree branches are also possible. Austin Energy customers can find information on local outages and time estimates for power recovery here. Call 311 to report damaged trees to the city.

The City of Austin will make cold weather shelters available Monday and Tuesday for anyone who needs a warm place to spend the night. To register to stay in a shelter, you’ll need to meet at One Texas Center (505 Barton Springs Road) between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Capital Metro will then take you to a shelter. You can also call 512-305-4233 for more information about shelters.

During the day, people can stay warm at Austin public libraries and park facilities. Park facilities will close Monday at 6 p.m., but libraries will keep their regular operating hours, the city says.

Austin’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management office and Austin Travis-County EMS said they’ve set up overnight operations to monitor weather conditions.

Follow the latest updates from the National Weather Service below: