Wednesday, January 17

Austin weather update

Greetings. Well, its day 3 of the winter storm, and like yesterday and Monday, there’s no work. We’re done with the winter storm/freeze warning, but now there’s a winter advisory until 7, whatever that means. Basically, the roads are still icy in many places and its still cold. The temperature is supposed to get up to 35, so at least we can start melting away some of the ice. The problem though is that the city is running low, or has already run out, of the sand and other de-icing material they used in the last couple of days. In other words, anything that’s icy now or may get icy tonight, won’t be able to be de-iced until they get more materials in. I wonder, what are the chances that the very truck that’s bringing more sand to the Austin area for the roadways, ends up spinning out and crashing? Forgive the morbid thought, but that sounds like a possible Darwin award.

From my perspective, we were told that the state offices would open at 1 today. Upon checking the Capitol Metro (or transit service) website, I learned that the busses were running on a “reduced schedule,” but I couldn’t find any definition of what that meant. I tried calling the Cap Metro number, but got busy signals each time. Since this is my first real winter in Austin, I don’t yet know what “reduced schedules” are. Do they mean Saturday schedules? Sunday schedules? Or, in the words of one of my coworkers, does the bus just come once an hour? I have no idea. The Saturday and Sunday departure times for where I catch the bus are about 20 minutes apart. However, remember, we’re still talking about temps around 32 or 33. Who wants to stand outside for 20 or 30 minutes, or longer, in 32 degree weather? I sure don’t.

I talked to my boss about this and we wondered if I just go take that shot in the dark, banking on the fact that the bus would stop when it did come. However, if I missed it, after waiting who knows how long then do I wait for the next one which might be an hour away, or go home? It’s a perplexing problem. Times like these might make me wish I had a car that I could drive in, but then the issue would be icy roads and bridges. Fortunately though, I soon learned that the message on the phone line for weather closures, had been updated and all offices were closed for the day.

All this will probably be over by tomorrow, since the temp is supposed to get into the upper thirties. Then again, since there are no materials for de-icing, who knows.

One more question: since there’s a chance we might go back to work tomorrow and have at a least a day and a half or two days of classes for the week, will students still complain about going to class, or try to get out of going to class?

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