Judge declares emergency, threats continue
By LPR Staff
Although sunny skies have retuned to Lockhart just in time for the 44th Annual Chisholm Trail Roundup, threats continue to loom and flood damage is pervasive throughout the County.
On Monday, Caldwell County Judge Kenneth Schawe declared a state of emergency throughout the County, according to Emer
gency Management Coordinator Martin Ritchey.
The declaration, Ritchey said, positions the County to be in line for State and Federal funding that might be available on the heels of Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent Disaster Declaration for counties throughout the state.
Ritchey said damages to County Roads during the recent flooding events could exceed the threshold necessary to qualify for financial assistance for repairs. However, he noted, the damages to individual properties are not likely to meet the required markers; unlike the flooding events of Memorial Day and Halloween last year, individual assistance will likely not be available for private property owners.
Forecasts promise a break in the weather throughout the weekend, with chances of precipitation hovering around 40 percent, and temperatures topping 90 degrees through next week. However, situations remain dangerous in several areas in Caldwell County.
On Tuesday afternoon, swift water rescue teams were dispatched to Rocky Road, where a driver had avoided a barricade and driven into fast-moving water. A neighbor was able to save the driver from the rushing water, and teams confirmed that no one was seriously injured in the incident. Still, the vehicle was swamped, and rescue crews were put in danger in their attempts to ensure the safety of the driver and any possible passengers.
“It’s still very important that people remember not to drive around barricades,” Ritchey said early this week. “There are still several roads actively flooding, and barricades remain in place until the road engineers determine the roadway is safe.”
That safety can only be declared after the water recedes, and in some cases, not even then.
Ritchey pointed to the collapsed bridge on Highway 21 near Niederwald, and the several vehicles that have been damaged as their owners ignored the barricades in that area.
“Often, you cannot see the damage until the road disappears from under your vehicle,” Ritchey said. “Many roads collapse after water erodes their structure.”
Because of the break in the weather, it is likely that crews from the Caldwell County Unit Road Administration will be able to assess most of the roadways as the week progresses. Those reviews will also assist the County in determining whether funding will be available through Federal, State or local sources after the declaration of disaster.