AUSTIN (KXAN) — A study called ‘Atlas 14” from the National Weather Service shows Central Texas is even more likely to experience larger storms than we thought, increasing the risk for severe flooding. The impact -significant. The City of Austin estimates the number of buildings in the 100-year floodplain could nearly double, from 4,000 to more than 7,600.
Friday, KXAN went to talk with neighbors living along the Crystalbrook Flood Wall in east Austin about the increased risk. The city will be holding public meetings across town to raise awareness, but has two meetings scheduled specifically for those near the Crystalbrook Flood Wall and the Creek Bend Flood Wall in southeast Austin.
Gil Ferrales and his family have lived on Crystalbrook Dr., which runs next to Walnut Creek, for the last 30 years. The flood wall was completed in 2004 after the city identified the subdivision as the “most serious residential flooding area in Austin” in 2001.
“We’ve had it come up as far as our front door but nothing ever actually got flooded or came in,” Ferrales said. “Since the wall, we haven’t had any issues with flooding.”
Since then, he hasn’t thought about the flood risk. But the city is. And plans to meet with those in his area.
“It does come as a surprise,” Ferrales said.
What it means is, under Atlas 14, those who have federally-backed mortgages in the 100-year floodplain will eventually have to buy flood insurance. Those who already have it, will likely see the costs go up, the city says.
On a fixed income, that’s Noemi Everett’s concern.
“Then we’re talking about another expense we’re gonna have,” Everett said. “I haven’t had to buy any in 10, maybe over 15 years. Which is nice.”
The Watershed Protection Department is proposing changes to the city code, to address the increased flood risk. This means businesses and property owners impacted by Atlas 14 would have new restrictions if they want to develop, expand, remodel or improve their properties.
Click here for a list of upcoming public meetings, and to take a look at how your property may be impacted.