Viral Newz

A look inside the emergency operations center


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texas is under a Winter Storm Warning until Thursday morning due to a significant ice threat. It means city and county leadership are once again huddled in the Austin-Travis County emergency operations center.

The Austin Fire Department, Austin-Travis County EMS, transportation officials, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and other emergency management officials were in the room Tuesday.

Austin and Travis County emergency operation center
Austin and Travis County emergency operations center (KXAN Photo/Grace Reader)

As of Tuesday midday, Travis County Judge Andy Brown said their biggest concern was road conditions.

Since midnight Tuesday, AFD said the department had responded to around 100 accidents, three being with fire department units. There have been injuries reported among those crashes and one death.

“As far as general operations, there are no major power outages that we’ve seen, water is working, the sand and treatment vehicles for the roads are out working. From an operations perspective things seem to be going pretty well, but I just can’t emphasize enough the danger out there even though it might not look that bad,” Brown said.

Brown said lessons learned from the deadly winter storm in 2021 are being utilized during this one, including the county’s ability to sand roadways.

“The sanding actually is one really good example. During storm Uri, some of the county sand supplies had not been covered with tarps and therefore were not useable. We made sure that they were all covered this time,” Brown said.

He added they have more vehicles with the ability to sand major streets, which is happening now.

Austin and Travis County emergency operation center
Austin and Travis County emergency operations center (KXAN Photo/Grace Reader)

KXAN has reported on previous efforts by the county to ensure they have enough supplies to withstand freezes and winter storms moving forward.

County officials said in commissioners court late last year that they’ve accumulated 100 pallets of 10-year water and nearly 13,000 meals.

For road maintenance, crews have established an ice and snow plan in tandem with park services. Crews will be treating bridges, curves, intersections and key arterial roadways as part of their emergency response.

Officials said they had accumulated cables and other support equipment for county vehicles being used for emergency response, while also stockpiling roadway treatment materials.

Stay up to date with the latest closures, road conditions and photos of the storm using KXAN’s storm live blog. You can find an updated Austin winter storm forecast here.


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