Strong winds, severe thunderstorms, hail and a possible tornado could hit the Austin area this evening, according to the National Weather Service. A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for much of Central and South Texas until 10:15 p.m.
It previously was until 10.
As the storm system entered Austin around 8 p.m., the city's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management advised residents to stay off the roads and remain indoors.
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) January 11, 2020
NWS said hail was the main threat, but damaging winds and a tornado were also possible. Wind speeds could reach as high as 70 mph.
There were reports of pea-sized hail and power outages in the area. Around 9:45 p.m., Austin Energy tweeted that 1,400 customers were without power. Bluebonnett said about 2,600 customers were affected.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for parts of Texas until 10 PM CST pic.twitter.com/teesSvWoSe
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) January 10, 2020
Meteorologist Eric Platt urged Central Texans to seek shelter in the case of a tornado.
"If you’re in a multistory home, you want to be on the lowest floor. Try to get to the most interior portion that you can," Platt said in an interview with KUT. "Generally, that’s a bathroom or a closet. You know, you try to put as much walls between you and the outside of your dwelling as possible."
Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Hutto, Manor, Leander, Lake Travis and Pflugerville ISDs all canceled after-school activities ahead of the front, including after-school care and athletics.
Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that the Texas Division of Emergency Management had placed boats, helicopters and medical and rescue teams on standby to help local governments.
The storm system was expected to move out of the region by midnight. Sun and cooler temperatures were in the forecast for Saturday.
This is a developing story. Check back in for updates.
Read the latest tweets from the National Weather Service: