Austin at risk for severe weather Thursday night; winds remain biggest threat

This week we say “Howdy!” to spring — and the nasty weather that comes with it.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Keith White, Austin’s main weather station at Camp Mabry wrapped up its ninth-warmest winter on record — and that’s even with the ice storms a month ago that knocked out power across Austin for days.

Meanwhile, March marks the meteorological start of spring, which in Austin means ’tis the season for severe weather — and Mother Nature is not wasting any time getting storms rolling.

White and meteorologist Nick Hampshire on Wednesday said the weather service’s “forecast remains on track for strong winds over areas west of I-35 Thursday afternoon through Thursday night” that would make the Hill Country vulnerable to the spread of brush fires.

Separately, “the risk for severe weather has expanded slightly westward, with the primary window for any strong storms beginning over the Hill Country after 3 p.m. and expanding eastward, exiting our region by 11 p.m.” Thursday, the weather service said in a statement.

The Hays school district on Thursday plans to end afterschool care and activities by 6:30 p.m. Thursday because it anticipates inclement weather to hit the area around 7 p.m., district officials said.

The Round Rock and Austin school districts also have canceled afterschool activities because of the forecast. The Manor district has canceled outdoor activities and will end all indoor afterschool activities by 6 p.m. In Lake Travis, all after