This article has been updated.

The Texas Department of Transportation’s San Antonio district warned residents to stay off the roads Wednesday morning following overnight freezing rain and sleet that coated the roads.

A TxDOT tweet said the precipitation “is shaping up to be the worst of all the winter events over the past week,” warning of ice accumulations of up to three-quarters of an inch.

As a record stretch of frigid cold gripped the area, more than 290,000 homes continued to be without power Wednesday morning, according to the CPS Energy outage map. City officials opened the Henry B. González Convention Center Tuesday evening as a warming center, with space for 500 people.

“This winter storm is not done yet,” said Paul Yura, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Austin-San Antonio. “I know folks are antsy to get out and get stuff they need, but you still need to use extreme caution. Stay home and don’t go out on the roads.”

By Wednesday afternoon, temperatures were expected to climb into the upper 30s, which Yura said is good news for the region. Wednesday night may see a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain as temperatures warm up, he added.

“Things look clearer as we move into the weekend,” Yura said. “We could see some 50s and 60s [over the weekend].”

In the meantime, the San Antonio Police Department was working with the Texas Department of Transportation to maintain key highway ramp closures through Wednesday. SAPD said it will continue ice plan operations through at least Wednesday afternoon, depending on weather forecast models and road conditions.

VIA service will remain closed on Wednesday and indefinitely, VIA officials said in a press release, and the majority of Wednesday’s outbound flights from San Antonio International Airport have been canceled.

Long lines formed outside H-E-B stores in preparation for their scheduled 10 a.m. opening Wednesday morning. At the South Flores Market location, a line of 60 people waited outside as a manager, accompanied by an SAPD officer, came out and announced, “We have no milk, no bread, and no gas.”

On Tuesday, H-E-B temporarily modified local store hours, opening at noon, and closed seven of its San Antonio locations.

“With harsh weather conditions and power outages impacting deliveries to stores, product assortment might be limited for a few days but will return to normal soon,” said H-E-B spokeswoman Julie Bedingfield. “We’re working around the clock to get more product to stores.”

San Antonio stores plan to operate until 8 p.m. Wednesday. H-E-B staff will continue to monitor conditions and make updates to the H-E-B website. To check the status or hours of your nearest H-E-B, click here.

Shoppers line up outside of the H-E-B in Olmos Park following a winter storm that is leaving many people without electricity and heat. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Ash Wednesday Mass times could change

With Lent approaching, the Archdiocese of San Antonio announced on social media Tuesday evening that the weather could affect Ash Wednesday Masses and that Catholics need not observe fasting and abstaining from meat on Wednesday.

“Please check with your parishes and monitor their social media … for information regarding Mass times,” the statement said. “Many churches are canceling or reducing the number of liturgies they are offering out of concern for the safety of their parishioners in these dangerous conditions.”

With the challenges many families in the archdiocese are facing due to electricity and water issues, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller exempted area Catholics from the law of abstinence and the law of fast on Ash Wednesday. The archbishop also allowed parishes to distribute ashes at the end of Masses this weekend.

“The archbishop requests that everyone continue to pray for those waiting to have their electricity restored, those in need of a warm place to stay, as well as first responders and other essential workers who brave the elements to serve others at this crucial time,” the statement said.

Vaccine appointments

COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled through the City of San Antonio at the Alamodome for Wednesday have been rescheduled for the same appointment time on Sunday due to the weather, City officials said. Appointments originally scheduled for Monday, Feb. 15, have been rescheduled for Friday, and appointments set for Tuesday have been moved to Saturday.

However, the Wonderland of the Americas mall vaccination site expects to be open Wednesday but not until noon, said University Health spokeswoman Elizabeth Allen. Anyone who had an appointment prior noon can come anytime Wednesday, Allen added. If there is a power outage at the mall, vaccinations likely will be put on hold. If that occurs, University Health will post an update on and share the information on its social media Wednesday morning, Allen said.

“Temperatures are expected to be above freezing by mid-morning, but those with early morning appointments should feel free to come a little later in the day,” Allen said. “No one will be turned away because they were late.”

UH vaccination appointments that had been set for Monday of this week have been rescheduled for Saturday at the same time, she added. Individuals who were not able to make it to their appointments Tuesday may come to Wonderland any day this week, Wednesday through Saturday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. They do not need to schedule an additional appointment, Allen said.

Both WellMed vaccination clinics in San Antonio will remain closed through the end of the week, WellMed announced. Patients scheduled to receive their second COVID-19 vaccinations this week at these clinics should return next week to their assigned location on the same day of the week to receive their shot.

For example, if you were scheduled to receive your shot at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Alicia Trevino Lopez One-Stop Center, you will go to the Lopez center at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24.

“Patients scheduled to return this week were to receive a second dose 28 days after their first shot,” WellMed said in a prepared statement. “The Centers for Disease Control says the second dose may be administered up to 42 days after the initial dose for the two-shot regimen to remain effective.”

Several of the City’s COVID-19 testing sites are closed because of the weather. To view updated testing hours and closures, click here

The Metropolitan Health District’s COVID-19 data and dashboards were not updated Tuesday, and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff’s COVID-19 briefing was canceled. Data reports and the briefings were expected to resume Wednesday.

Schools close again

Most school districts have been closed this week due to the icy weather and plan to make up the days later in the year. Here’s an updated list of school closures:

DistrictIn-person learningRemote learning
Alamo HeightsClosed WednesdayNo
East CentralClosed WednesdayNo
EdgewoodClosed WednesdayNo
Fort Sam HoustonClosed WednesdayNo
HarlandaleClosed WednesdayNo
JudsonClosed WednesdayNo
LacklandClosed WednesdayNo
Medina ValleyClosed WednesdayNo
North EastClosed WednesdayNo
NorthsideClosed WednesdayNo
San AntonioClosed WednesdayNo
Schertz-Cibolo-Universal CityClosed WednesdayNo
South San AntonioClosed WednesdayNo
SouthwestClosed WednesdayNo
SouthsideClosed WednesdayNo

Several local colleges and universities will keep their campuses closed Wednesday. Those campuses include San Antonio College, Trinity University, and the University of the Incarnate Word.

The University of Texas at San Antonio will be closed through Friday night, and Texas A&M University-San Antonio will resume classes on Friday. Our Lady of the Lake University will remain closed through Friday.

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Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report.