BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The cold snap that began over the weekend has wreaked havoc in the lives of thousands of Rio Grande Valley residents and the region’s economy as well.

Doctors, dental and veterinarian clinics, the international bridges linking Cameron County with the Mexican state of northeastern Tamaulipas and even the Interstate Highway System in this part of the state were closed because of the below freezing temperatures.

The office of Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., issued several press releases calling for Monday’s closures of the Veteran International Bridge and the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios. This will add more losses in bridge revenues impacted since the pandemic was declared a year ago this month of March and which a county officials estimate is in the millions of dollars.

Treviño also ordered that all county offices be closed the following day.

“In light of the ongoing severe winter weather conditions throughout the State of Texas and for the protection and safety of all employees and visitors to our Cameron County buildings, all county offices will close tomorrow,” he said on Monday, Feb. 15.  

“All employees and residents of Cameron County are asked to please stay home, stay warm and avoid being on the road as much as possible. All electric power companies are working around the clock to address the power outages throughout our County. Please contact your local municipality for emergency warm shelter availability and information.”

The cold snap has left thousands of people without power, including residents of Mercedes, Primera, South Padre Island, Port Isabel. Laguna Vista and Brownsville.

In some areas, people have been without power for more than 24 hours.

Eladio Jaimez, a spokesman with AEP, said some 150,000 homes were without power as of Tuesday morning throughout the RVG.

Asked how soon it would take to restore power, he said it was hard to tell but they will keep giving updates.

The weather has impacted the retail, restaurant industry and supermarket industry as many of shops, stores and business continued to be closed by Tuesday afternoon.

That includes HEB and Lopez supermarkets in Brownsville, Whataburgers in Brownsville, the Island and Port Isabel and many other business as well.

The Island has hit so hard by the weather that Mayor Patrick McNulty declared the city a disaster area for a period of seven days.

Besides the thousands of homes and businesses impacted by the weather, the cold snap has been taking its toll on the environment and on the area wildlife.

Dozens of brown pelicans have been killed along Texas Highway 48 and more than 2,000 sea turtles have been rescued from the Laguna Madre.

Hundreds of these reptiles are recovering at the Island Sea Turtle Inc. and at the Convention Center.

However, dozens did not survive the below freezing temperatures.

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