AUSTIN (KXAN) — A light mist in Downtown Austin isn’t hampering roads amid Friday’s freezing temperatures.
“Roadways still in good condition,” tweeted Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “Just be careful and take it easy on the roadways. Take time driving to arrive alive!!”
Acevedo said earlier in the morning hours that they’re on tactical alert — meaning they have a lot of extra crews on the road, ready for the icy weather to hit.
Texas Department of Transportation trucks have been on standby, ready and waiting to treat any icy patches that pop up. Crews are posted in 11 areas throughout Austin.
Emergency Operations Center officials say it’s been a pretty quiet morning, but they’re not leaving their post since the Winter Weather Advisory is still in effect through noon. They don’t want to stand down too early.
Police have been driving around and surveying roads — feeding reports back to Texas Department of Transportation officials of any possible ice. They are paying close attention to overpasses and bridges.
“They have been out in the chilly weather since 4 a.m.,” police tweeted.
As of 11:10 a.m., Austin police say there are no icy roads or weather-related crashes reported from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“Thanks for listening to our warnings and driving cautiously, Austin,” they tweeted.
Meanwhile, Austin-Travis County EMS crews say from midnight to 6 a.m., they’ve responded to only one call for weather-related exposure.
Like the rest of Central Texas emergency officials and first responders, San Marcos Emergency Operations Center Manger Ken Bell says it’s a “hurry up and wait” situation — as roads remain calm and clear of any ice accumulation and wrecks.
Bell says officials continue to monitor the situation, and there are trucks driving around checking on the roads.
TxDOT spokeswoman Kelli Reyna says there are no major issues in the Hill Country, but they are seeing icy roadways as of 8:20 a.m. in Mason, Gillespie, Llano and Blanco counties.
“Hey Hill Country drivers, please use extreme caution today as many roads are icy. Drive slowly & use extreme caution!” TxDOT officials tweeted around 10 a.m.
Burnet County, meanwhile, is dry.
Agencies staffed in the Emergency Operations Center
- Travis County Emergency Management
- City of Austin Public Information Officer Office
- Austin Police Department
- Austin-Travis County EMS
- Public Works
- Regular EOC staff, such as regular emergency management staff
How they prepared Thursday heading into Friday: The biggest thing was staffing, making sure the right people were present from various agencies.
Their big message to the public: They’re asking everyone to just drive safely: slow down, keep the distance between you and the car in front of you.
Department of Public Safety tips for staying safe
- Avoid unnecessary travel if possible, monitor local weather broadcasts, and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions.
- Remember that ice forms first on bridges, overpasses and shady areas.
- On icy roads, drive slowly, increase distance needed for stopping, and avoid using cruise control.
- Make sure your car is properly maintained before any trip. Check fluid and antifreeze levels.
- Buckle up everyone in the car. It’s the law.
For more information on road conditions statewide, check online or call 800-452-9292.
List of emergency supplies to keep in your car
- Blankets/sleeping bags and extra clothing, mittens and hat
- Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries
- First-aid kit and pocket knife
- High-calorie, nonperishable food, bottled water
- Sack of sand or cat litter for deicing roadway
- Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and shovel
For additional information regarding winter weather preparedness, head online.