School, offices close in wake of Harvey


By LPR Staff



In the wake of the torrential rainfall brought to Lockhart and Caldwell County by Tropical Storm Harvey, the Lockhart Independent School District and Caldwell County have decided to suspend operations on Monday, Aug. 28.

Early on Sunday, LISD Public Information Officer Christina Courson announced t

hat Superintendent Susan Bohn decided to cancel classes on Monday.

“Safety is our priority care,” Courson said. “Many of our families are facing difficult circumstances right now with the storm. We encourage you to follow what is best for your family’s unique situation and safety. Please heed the warnings of the emergency management team to ensure your safety and the safety of others.”

The District estimates as many as 4,500 of the District’s students have been impacted in some way by the flooding event, which remains a serious threat through Sunday night.

The Prairie Lea and Luling Independent School Districts have also verified that they will be closed on Monday, as has Lockhart Montessori School.

According to NOAA meteorologist Paul Yura, Harvey is beginning to leave the area this afternoon, and is traveling on a southeastern track. The storm may extend into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, and will then return inland, before heading north/northwest through midweek into Thursday.

“About half of the rain we’re expecting, we expect tonight,” Yura said. “A dry system coming in behind this storm could cause it to strengthen overnight, and we could get as much as 15 inches, with isolated pockets up to 20 inches.”

Yura noted the greater portion of the danger comes from the potential flooding in river basins, particularly the Guadalupe and Colorado Rivers, which could intensify the impact on Bastrop, Smithville and Seguin. Sunday afternoon predictions call for only mild flooding in Caldwell County, based primarily on the Plum Creek Watershed.

“Due to the high levels of precipitation several of the Plum Creek Conservation District Dams spillways have begun to bypass directly into the creeks below them,” Caldwell County Emergency Management Coordinator Martin Ritchey said on Saturday night. “This will substantially increase the flow in smaller creeks downstream. If you live near a creek be aware of its flow and seek high ground before it floods.”

Ritchey noted the location and condition of the dams will be evaluated after the storm passes, to ensure the structures do not create flow paths that put homes and lives in danger.

Caldwell County remains on high alert through Sunday night and into Monday, with crews on hand to perform swift water rescues, if necessary. Ritchey issued a statement on Sunday morning urging residents to shelter in place until the storm has passed.

As of Sunday afternoon, nearly all low-water crossings have been closed, and every surface road that holds water is expected to do so. The rapidly-changing conditions have kept first responders on their toes, as several days of water saturation have caused deterioration in several areas, including a sinkhole that has caused Highway 21 in the Uhland area, from FM 2720 to FM 2001 to be closed indefinitely.

The most comprehensive list of closures available is online at www.atxfloods.com.

Caldwell County Judge Kenneth Schawe announced on Sunday that he has chosen to close County offices for all non-essential personnel on Monday. However, he noted, the scheduled County Commissioners’ Court meeting was projected to be held.

At 3 p.m. on Sunday, Schawe noted he would evaluate the situation through the evening, and announce to the Commissioners if he changed his mind and cancelled the meeting.

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