Polar blast leaves thousands in San Antonio in freezing darkness – Texas Public Radio

After a long night of freezing rain and wind, some parts of San Antonio remained in the dark on Wednesday morning.

CPS reported thousands of its customers throughout Bexar County were without power, mostly because ice had accumulated on trees over night.

The National Weather Service expanded a Winter Storm Warning to include Bexar County through 6 a.m. Thursday.

Temperatures on Wednesday in the San Antonio metro area were expected to remain in the 30s, slightly above freezing.

Some residents in San Antonio reported being without power for hours, starting with outages starting around 4:00 a.m.

Austin faced headaches of its own, with thousands of customers without power. Austin Energy also blamed ice coated tree branches being weighed down and hitting power lines. KUT reported that experts said the power grid was holding up, though it was not facing the same demands as it did during the 2021 winter storm.

Forecasters said ice accumulations up to three-quarters of an inch were possible across a broad swath of the Hill Country, including the Austin metro area and much of the I-35 corridor.

Areas of along and north of 1604 in northern Bexar County could also see as much.

The rest of the warning and advisory areas can expect a quarter inch to a half inch of accumulation through 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

School closures

Most schools and colleges in the Hill Country and Bexar County were closed Tuesday, with the exceptions of Southside ISD and Texas A&M University-San Antonio on the South Side. Schools just to the south and east of Bexar County, including La Vernia ISD and Floresville ISD, remained open.

Most schools and colleges in the Hill Country and Bexar will also be closed again Wednesday, including every school district in Bexar County.

Trinity University and Our Lady of the Lake University will be remote through 12 p.m. Wednesday, and the Alamo Colleges will be remote through 10 a.m. Thursday. A&M-San Antonio planned to close its campus at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed Wednesday, with remote classes offered where possible. UTSA and The University of the Incarnate Word will also be remote on Wednesday.

Also closed on Wednesday: Boerne ISD, Comal ISD, New Braunfels ISD, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, Northside ISD, North East ISD, San Antonio ISD, Judson ISD, Southwest ISD, East Central ISD, Harlandale ISD, Edgewood ISD, South San Antonio ISD, Alamo Heights ISD, Southside ISD, Somerset ISD, Fort Sam Houston ISD, Randolph Field ISD, Lackland ISD, Floresville ISD, La Vernia ISD, Medina Valley ISD, Pre-K 4 SA, KIPP Texas-San Antonio, and New Frontiers Public Schools.

San Antonio open

Among its several advisories, the City of San Antonio reminded of the four P’s: People, Pets, Plants & Pipes.

Dress in warm layers, bring plants and pets inside, and cover outdoor pipes if temperatures dip below freezing.

Solid Waste Management and VIA Metropolitan Transit planned to remain fully operational on Wednesday.

Some bus routes north of 1604 may be detoured or delayed. See any schedule adjustments and details at VIAinfo.net.

The 3-1-1 call number will remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bexar County closed

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai announced the closure of all county offices and court dockets for Wednesday due to inclement weather.

“This decision to close Bexar County offices is being made to allow families to care for their children as many area school districts have already announced Wednesday cancellations,” Sakai said in a statement released by his office Tuesday afternoon.

“I am also concerned about senior citizens and encourage them to call 3-1-1 or contact the County for extra assistance as needed,” he said. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number is 210-335-6000.

He also encouraged essential travel only.

Weather conditions

San Antonio escaped major road closures Tuesday night. Roadways remained open despite the winter weather.

Laura Lopez, spokeperson for the Texas Department of Transportation, said on Monday that crews treated I-35 in northern Bexar and Comal counties and I-10 in Kendall and Kerr counties. She said roads could be treated again if needed. Forecasters said the biggest concerns for travelers are bridges and overpasses.

Freezing rain can stick to bridges, overpasses, making for hazardous driving conditions. Frozen precipitation can also stick to power lines causing them to collapse under the weight and leading to power outages.

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