Floods batter scarred county
By LPR Staff
With flood recovery efforts still under way from the devastating Memorial Weekend Floods, Caldwell County took another crushing blow last weekend, as heavy rains and floodwaters tore through the tender scabs of recently recovered land.
As upwards of eight inches of rain dumped from the skies betwee
n Thursday evening and Friday afternoon, Caldwell County braced, not only for an aerial flood, but for another flood surge barreling down the Blanco River toward the San Marcos River, bringing with it the horror of a marriage of the two most devastating flooding events in recent Caldwell County history – the Halloween 2013 flood, and the Memorial Day 2015 flood.
Across the County, swift-water teams stood at the ready, as early as Thursday evening, as Plum Creek and her tributaries began to swell. Emergency services warned, as the situation became more desperate, that homeowners impacted by the Halloween 2013 flood were going to get hit again.
What’s more, homes impacted by the Memorial Day 2015 floods, still fresh in the process of recovery
after only a handful of months, were once again in danger from the Blanco River storm surge.
Indeed, as Caldwell County became landlocked while water ripped over Highway 80, Highway 21 and Highway 183, residents across the County were warned to evacuate, in hopes of once again sparing the lives of those in the greatest danger.
At the end of the day on Friday, as emergency operations slowed while the San Marcos River barreled toward Luling and southward, teams evacuated hundreds of families, and enacted more than 50 swift-water rescues, via boat and sometimes, using aerial support from helicopters brought in from other parts of the state.
Dozens of roads closed. Asphalt and gravel were swept off the roads and into the rushing waters, goring the land throughout the county, as the water picked up trees, shrubs, and everything else in its path.
As of Saturday morning, assessment of the damage had begun, with Emergency Management Coordinator Martin Ritchey theorizing that Caldwell County might, once again, reach the damage threshold required to receive assistance from FEMA.
On Sunday, Caldwell County Judge Kenneth Schawe reached out to Governor Greg Abbott, requesting an official declaration of disaster for Caldwell County. At press time, that application was still pending.
Moving forward, all Caldwell County residents can do is pull up their boots, put on their gloves and help their neighbors come back from the devastation – again.
A volunteer resource center will be open at the Martindale Baptist Church on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7 –8, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Through that Center, volunteers will be dispatched to flood-torn areas to assist in the removal of debris. Not only volunteers, but those needing assistance, are asked to come to the VRC during that time, to make sure that all who need help are registered to receive that help.
For those who need emotional support or assistance, Bluebonnet Trails Community Services has manned a 24-hour crisis hotline at (800) 841-1255. The Center will also be accepting traditional appointments, and those in need of face-to-face counseling may call (844) 309-6385 to schedule those services.
The Department of State Health Services will be setting up a tetanus and influenza vaccine clinic at the Martindale Baptist Church 12351 Hwy 142 in Martindale on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Those impacted by the flood event and volunteers working with cleaning out homes who are not up-to-date with their vaccines should stop by and be vaccinated. There is no cost for this service.
Unfortunately, the National Weather Service began warning, late on Tuesday evening, of another system that could bring moisture back to Central Texas, with the potential for locally heavy rainfall possible on Wednesday night through Thursday. Although the rain is expected to end by Friday, the potential for locally heavy rainfall could have a devastating impact on already-flood-swelled waterways; locally heavy runoff from saturated land could increase the possibility for flash flooding throughout Caldwell County, if storms develop.
For information on recovery efforts, as well as constant information on developing weather conditions, follow the Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management and the Lockhart Post-Register on Facebook.