Hays County begins recovery after flooding damages public property, roads

Flooding throughout Central Texas in late October displaced Hays County residents, caused millions of dollars of damage to public and private property and did little to ease the state's ongoing drought, officials said.

According to the National Weather Service, areas of Hays County including San Marcos, Kyle and Buda received more than 10 inches of rain throughout the night on Oct. 30–31.

Buda Planning Director Chance Sparks said the city received 12 inches of rain in a span of six hours. Flooding hit the Onion Creek Village, Buda Elementary School and Buda Fire Department. Some communication equipment was also damaged and some roads had minor damage, but Sparks said no roads sustained major damage.

In all, Sparks said about 25 people were evacuated, mostly from Onion Creek Village, to Santa Cruz Catholic Church. There were three water rescues in Buda, but none resulted in fatalities, he said.

"By and large, considering the event, we got off fairly lucky," Sparks said.

In Kyle, street closures included the northbound I-35 access road near the Saddlecreek Apartments, Kelly Smith Lane and Windy Hill, Lehman and Burleson roads.

The city of Kyle made emergency repairs to Windy Hill Road after the flooding caused more than $12,000 in damages to the road and traffic barricades. Mayor Lucy Johnson said the city is confident it will be reimbursed by either the state or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

City officials said two police cruisers and various public facilities also sustained damage.

Assistant City Manager James Earp said the flooding could have been a lot worse.

"Generally speaking, it was a significant event, but at the same time, I think the staff you have working for you did a great job in helping secure the health and welfare of [Kyle residents]," Earp said.

County officials said no Hays County residents died or sustained major injuries in the flood.

Kharley Smith, Hays County emergency management coordinator, said communities along Cypress Creek in Wimberley and Onion and Little Bear creeks in Buda as well as areas surrounding the San Marcos and Blanco rivers were the most devastated areas.

About 20 roads in San Marcos were closed, and residents of Riviera Drive, which backs up to the San Marcos River, were evacuated from their homes on the morning of Oct. 31.

Disaster area

County Judge Bert Cobb sent a letter to Gov. Rick Perry on Nov. 5 declaring Hays County a disaster area.

Smith said the declaration makes the county and cities eligible for state funds and could help ease the recovery for residents and business owners affected by the floods.

Smith said she was pleased with the response from fire departments and emergency responders from municipalities and entities throughout the county, who did not allow what she called "jurisdictional boundaries" to hamper the disaster response.

"They are one organization despite the name on their truck and the patch on their shirt," Smith said.


LaMarriol Smith, public affairs officer for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, which supplies water to San Marcos, Buda, Kyle and other cities in Central Texas, said extreme weather patterns are not unusual in Texas.

"The mantra is 'droughts are broken by floods in Texas,'" she said. "That's why there are areas that are called 'flash-flood alleys.' When those rain events occur in those dry areas, the water piles up quickly."

She said the rainfall caused the levels at Canyon Lake to rise 4 feet since the rain began late on Oct. 30.

But the drought is not over, she said.

Canyon Lake's water level is currently at 901 feet above sea level, she said. That is up from a measurement on Oct. 27 that put the level at 897 feet, but still below the normal conservation level of 909 feet.

"With the recent rains, some people might believe that the state is no longer feeling the effects of drought conditions," she said. "However, that would be misleading. While this is helpful, what is needed is for the rain to fall on or above area reservoirs so that there will be inflow into the reservoirs, and [that will] ultimately replenish domestic water supplies."



Photo of nurses offering drive-thru vaccines
Appointments no longer needed for drive-thru vaccines at Circuit of the Americas

From April 23-25, people age 16 and up can receive first doses of the Pfizer vaccine without an appointment at COTA.

(Courtesy Burgandy Star Espresso)
Walk-up coffee shop Burgandy Star Espresso now open in Buda

A new coffee shop called Burgandy Star Espresso, which was inspired by similar businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest, opened April 22 in Buda at 1710 FM 1626.

Proposed rezonings of 51 acres in San Marcos would have included single-family and multifamily housing as well as a boat and RV storage facility. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)
San Marcos City Council passes on rezoning 3 developments

Proposed rezonings of 51 acres would have included single-family and multifamily housing as well as a boat and RV storage facility.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

Buda ended its moratorium on issuing solicitation permits during City Council's April 20 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy city of Buda)
Companies may again seek door-to-door solicitation permits in Buda

Following a temporary suspension of permit issuance for door-to-door solicitation in Buda, officials have decided to again allow companies to sell to residents—provided they are willing to go through the process of applying for and paying for the permits.

Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett addressed council April 20 regarding an ordinance restricting sex offenders' residency in the city. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kyle officials revisit safety zones designed to restrict registered sex offender residency

After numerous, divisive public discussions that began in February, the city of Kyle is once again considering implementing child safety zones that would restrict where registered sex offenders may go and reside.

Kyle Communications Director Samantha Armbruster addresses City Council on April 20. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kyle makes play to be designated official Pie Capital of Texas

Though unofficially, the city of Kyle has already put in the work to be the Pie Capital of Texas, and officials are now campaigning to make the designation legal and binding.

Kyle City Council approved the rezoning of land to a townhome district during its April 20 meeting. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Townhome district to help diversify Kyle’s housing profile

A townhome district in Kyle is defined as allowing attached, single-family structures with four or more dwelling units at a minimum of 1,000 square feet per unit.

A team from Texas State University presented findings to Kyle City Council on an ongoing ride-hailing partnership with Uber. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Analysis: Uber/Kyle partnership so far meeting expectations

During Kyle's April 20 meeting, the Texas State University team said the Kyle model would have to surpass 58 riders per day to exceed the city's budget—$150,000 for fiscal year 2020-21.

Mayor Jane Hughson speaks during a groundbreaking for medical marijuana company Goodblend in San Marcos on April 19. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Medical marijuana company breaks ground in San Marcos

Goodblend will build a $25 million medical cannabis cultivation, production and retail facility near the Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Marcos.

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Hays County reports 500 votes in first day of early voting

Education-related election items in Hays County include $443.5 million in bonds as well as city council positions, school board seats and municipal utility district directors.

Doug Wozniak, the district's director of tranportation and safety, updated officials on staff's latest vaccination plans during SMCISD's April 19 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy San Marcos CISD)
San Marcos CISD working on plan for student vaccinations

While no students at San Marcos CISD have yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, at least not as part of any district program, a plan is in the works to ramp up inoculations for that population.