San Marcos leaders look at city's response, impact after recent storms

San Marcos City Council held a meeting to look at the impact of last month’s storms, and the city’s response, which officials say was mostly good, but could have been better.

On May 9, storms ripped through San Marcos, bringing intense straight-line winds, heavy rain and hail.

"The biggest impacts that we saw were to our residents, and it was for power outages and tree debris from the high winds," said San Marcos City Manager Stephanie Reyes.

First Baptist Church was left with a gaping hole and flooding inside.

"The Santa Rosa Hospital had damage to their third floor, surgical department and emergency rooms, resulting in them having to transfer patients," said San Marcos Emergency Management Coordinator Rob Finch.

Car after car was damaged by either fallen trees or hail.

San Marcos Public Works says a total of 248 vehicles were damaged, 22 facilities had to be repaired, 46 streets and 40 trees were cleared, and officials responded to 59 calls to remove debris.

"The majority of blocked roads were cleared within 30 minutes," said Finch.

The storm is projected to cost Hays County about $4.5 million in infrastructure damage, about $700,000 in San Marcos alone. A total of 136 outages knocked out about 12,000 customers. All were restored within 49.5 hours.


At the meeting, Reyes acknowledged that communication could have been better when it came to outages.

"How do we do more targeted communication for those folks that are experiencing prolonged outages to make sure that we're touching base and letting them know what to expect and that kind of thing? So that is a lesson learned," said Reyes.

Another criticism? That the city’s alert towers haven’t worked for 11 years, and were not used during these storms.

"I talked to more than a dozen people that had no idea anything was happening," said Mark Glason, San Marcos City Council Place 5.

Public Works officials say they expect to have those alert towers operational sometime this summer.