More than 150,000 lose power as icy conditions continue to grip Austin

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Photo credit Getty Images / Elenathewise

AUSTIN ( -- Icy conditions continued to grip much of the Austin area Wednesday, causing power outages for as much as a third of Austin Energy's customers and continuing to create travel headaches for the area's roadways.

A Winter Storm WARNING continues for Travis, Williamson, and Hays Counties until 10AM Thursday morning...

As of 8:45pm on Wednesday, more than 160,000 Austin Energy customers were without electricity, down from a mid-afternoon peak near 180,000. The outages were spread across the city, in more than 1,000 discrete incidents.

Austin Energy says its crews are out in the field, working on restoring power to customers as quickly as possible. The outages are all localized, officials say, due to line problems caused by ice and tree limbs, as well as equipment issues due to the ice.

Officials say some of the outages may take as long as 12-24 hours to repair, depending on conditions and damage done to the system by ice. Wednesday evening, officials said some of the outages may take until 6 p.m. Friday to fully resolve.

Oncor was also reporting large outages in parts of its service area, with more than 50,000 customers without power. Pedernales and Bluebonnet Electric Co-op officials also said they were dealing with outages affecting about 30,000 customers between the two providers.

Periods of freezing rain are expected to continue through the day on Wednesday and overnight into Thursday morning, with additional accumulations from a tenth of an inch to isolated totals of another quarter inch possible across parts of the metro area. Additional accumulations are likely to be focused north and west of the city of Austin.

Temperatures in Austin should barely rise above freezing Wednesday afternoon. However, real thawing conditions are not expected until Thursday afternoon, when precipitation is expected to finally come to an end.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images / Elenathewise