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Some in Austin area still without power following overnight thunderstorms

Austin American-Statesman logo Austin American-Statesman 5/29/2021 Heather Osbourne, Austin American-Statesman
map: National Weather Service forecast for May 29, 2021. © National Weather Service National Weather Service forecast for May 29, 2021.

Hundreds of Austin and Travis County residents remained without power Saturday afternoon because of thunderstorms that moved through the area Friday evening. 

James Ortiz, who lives on Suena Drive in the Montopolis neighborhood of Southeast Austin, said the line of thunderstorms Friday took the power out about 7 p.m. It was still off at noon Saturday. 

"It got pretty bad," Ortiz said. "The thunder was explosive. It sounded as if there was an explosion at the airport. That's how loud it got here." 

Nearby on Vasquez Street, Brittany Eldridge said she lost power about 5:30 p.m. Friday and was told by Austin Energy on Saturday that it could remain off until sometime Sunday. 

"We've been having the windows and doors open," Eldridge said. "We have to go to my sister-in-law's house to go take showers and do everything because we can't eat. Our refrigerator is so nasty." 

It was sunny, warm and humid in Montopolis at noon Saturday. The current forecast calls for isolated and scattered showers and thunderstorms over the next five days in Central Texas, with high temperatures in the 80s and lows around 70 degrees.

The line of thunderstorms that moved in from the northwest Friday evening pelted Austin and Central Texas with downpours and wind gusts up to 65 mph. That is likely to be the worst of the rainy conditions for the holiday weekend, weather service meteorologist Nick Hampshire said.

The hardest-hit areas for wind damage in Travis County included Lakeway to the west and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to the southeast, where residents experienced some tree damage, Hampshire said.

Across its coverage area, Austin Energy reported roughly 30,000 customers were without power during the storm's peak. Ten thousand were still without power Saturday morning.

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, another electric company that serves areas east of Austin, reported that about 315 of its customers remained without power as of 3 p.m. Friday in Bastrop, Travis, Williamson and Caldwell counties.

However, though Bluebonnet reported roughly 8,000 meters were without power overnight Friday, staffers said they wouldn't know the total number of outages until Sunday. 

Oncor, which provides power to much of Williamson County, had about 865 people without power in the surrounding counties by 3 p.m. Friday, according to its outage map.

Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which provides power to much of the Hill Country west of Austin, had about 30 outages by early afternoon, affecting about 97 customers. At 6 p.m. Friday, about 2,249 people had lost power through Pedernales Electric, the outage map showed. 

On average, the Austin metro area had about an inch and a half of rainfall, Hampshire said. The Hill Country had 1.5 to 3 inches, but no flooding was reported. 

The weather service investigated a possible tornado touchdown in Rockne in Bastrop County but said it did not find debris consistent with a tornado.

Hampshire said strong storms aren't unusual for the Austin area, especially during spring. Between winter and summer, there is a two-month window that has just enough warm weather to allow thunderstorms to develop before summer ushers in dry skies and temperatures above 100 degrees, Hampshire said. 

Memorial Day weekend 2020, when social isolation from the coronavirus pandemic was in full swing, also had thunderstorms that brought hail and heavy rain. The holiday storms last year dropped 3.21 inches of rain at the airport and 1.61 inches at Camp Mabry.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Some in Austin area still without power following overnight thunderstorms

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