AUSTIN, Texas — Thursday afternoon, families were still without power across Central Texas due to winter weather. The counties that received the most reports of outages were Leon, Milam, Robertson, Falls, and Travis counties. Travis County had over 150,000 reported outages, according to www.poweroutage.us. Austin Energy was the main energy provider for the areas that have been affected.
As of Thursday afternoon, temperatures in the Austin area were rising above freezing. According to Weather.com, temperatures will continue to rise into Friday with the high being 52 degrees.
Austin Energy said in a tweet Thursday that it is unable to determine when power will be restored.
Previously, Austin Energy said that major restoration efforts would be complete by Friday evening. However, the utility more recently said restoration might take longer the previously thought.
Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis said in a tweet she spoke with Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent who confirmed the energy company has to prioritize by critical need, like fire and EMS stations along with hospitals.
Austin Energy says that so far its crews have restored power to approximately 113,000 customers. However, the utility was seeing additional falling ice and tree limbs continuing to knock the power out again – sometimes on the same circuit that crews had just restored.
Mutual aid from other utilities arrived to assist, according to an Austin Energy spokesperson.
Austin Energy said that 85 crews were in service, with an additional 32 crews from other utilities joining them Wednesday. They were expecting more crews from Houston to arrive Thursday afternoon to assist.
Due to the ongoing outages, school systems in the Dallas and Austin area closed on Thursday as snow, sleet, and freezing rain continued to push through. Public transport in Dallas also experienced “major delays” early Thursday, according to a statement from Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
Airport crews have attempted to battle the ice to keep the runways open. By Thursday morning, airlines canceled more than 500 flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport — more than a quarter of all flights scheduled for the day.
At least seven people have died due to the dangerous road conditions since Monday. Texas Governor Greg Abbot urged people not to drive.
ERCOT said in a tweet that it continues to have an adequate power supply to meet the current demand by power providers as they are working around the clock to restore local outages.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.