Update: Hays County is under a state of disaster; this is what you should know

Disaster declarations are being issued at local, county, state and federal levels due to the winter weather conditions sweeping across Texas. (Heather Demere/Community Impact Newspaper)
Disaster declarations are being issued at local, county, state and federal levels due to the winter weather conditions sweeping across Texas. (Heather Demere/Community Impact Newspaper)

Disaster declarations are being issued at local, county, state and federal levels due to the winter weather conditions sweeping across Texas. (Heather Demere/Community Impact Newspaper)

On Feb. 14, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra declared a local state of disaster due to the unusual winter weather plaguing Central Texas, and also canceled Feb. 16's Commissioners Court meeting.

Becerra's disaster declaration is set to last for seven days, but could be extended or terminated before then. According to a news release, it will remain active until the winter weather conditions clear.

“In collaboration with emergency management services in the community, we determined that weather-related conditions pose a significant threat to Hays County citizens and their property,” Becerra said in the release. “Out of an abundance amount of caution, we will take measures to ensure the highest level of response and safety. Thanks to the outpouring of support by our staff and community, we stand vigilant during this time.”

On Feb. 12, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a statewide disaster declaration. President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state Feb. 14 and also ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts, according to a news release.

Biden's declaration also authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster-relief efforts and identify, mobilize, and provide equipment and resources. Emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering and direct federal assistance will be provided at 75% federal funding, the release said.


The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has also entered emergency conditions and initiated rotating outages in the early hours of Feb. 14 due to extreme demand, an ERCOT news release said.

"Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now," said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness in the release.

ERCOT, which manages the flow of electricity to more than 26 million Texans, also said rotating outages could be initiated until the winter weather emergency ends.

San Marcos issued its own emergency declaration Feb. 13 and also urged drivers to stay off roads due to the weather and high number of car crashes on I-35.

The Feb. 16 San Marcos City Council meeting has been postponed until Feb. 24. The budget policy workshop was also rescheduled and is planned for Feb. 26.

The city of Buda has also issued a disaster declaration and provided residents with tips on how to protect their pipes, pets and plants from the cold.

Buda is asking residents to conserve water due to a power loss at the Guadalupe-Blanco river Authority.

The city of Kyle is asking residents to suspend any unnecessary water usage until further notice due to a shortage.


A list of organizations throughout Hays County has been compiled for those in need or resources. People may also donate money or materials to aid neighbors trying to stay warm.

The following tips for reducing the load on the grid were provided by Hays County as well:

  • Set thermostats to 68 degrees.

  • Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.

  • Turn off and unplug nonessential lights and appliances.

  • Avoid using large appliances such as washers and ovens.


San Marcos Paratransit and fixed routes for The Bus will not Feb. 15. Interurban 1517 and 1510 are also canceled for Monday.


Texas State University canceled all classes until at least 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17. The cancellation also includes virtual and online classes and events.


Hays CISD announced its classes will be 100% virtual for the remainder of the week, with in-person learning expected to resume Feb. 22.


San Marcos CISD has canceled all classes for Feb. 16 due to issues with power outages and internet connectivity. The district will monitor the weather and make a decision Tuesday about classes on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

H-E-B has changed store hours at many of its locations.

Hays County offices, parks and recycling centers will be closed Feb. 16.

Curative COVID-19 testing sites will be closed until Thursday, but may stay closed longer if weather conditions do not improve.

Vaccine appointments are being rescheduled by the county as well.
By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.