KINGSLAND, Texas (KXAN) — Evacuated Kingsland residents returned home Wednesday to assess the damage left behind by floodwaters. Llano County officials estimate that hundreds of homes were damaged in the recent flooding, though they do not have an exact number yet.
With daybreak, many who evacuated, like Pat Muller and Susan Patten, hoped to find something left.
The Valentine Lakeside owners say they got lucky as the Llano River backs up to their property.
“It didn’t come up this high, it got to here because there’s dirt,” said Muller, the co-owner of Valentine Lakeside.
They lost a fishing dock, a boat and currently can’t access their well-based water system due to sand that has washed up on their property. But their cabins didn’t flood.
That wasn’t the case for many in the area.
Patricia Heinecke, who lost her home, said, “The water just kept on coming.”
Just down the road near the Farm to Market 1431 bridge along the Colorado River, Heinecke lost it all. “I’m still in shock right now.”
Heinecke and her husband stayed behind, watching from their second story as the water kept rushing in.
“We didn’t know if the house was going to tumble down or what was going to happen,” she said.
Inside, the flood left its mark. “It’s full of mud. I mean it’s in my refrigerator it’s in my stove, it’s an all my cabinets, it’s terrible.”
All she can do now is salvage whatever is left. “I’m sure we will get all back together and then maybe I’ll move,” Heinecke said.
Kingsland families begin cleanup
The carpet Joe Johnson’s mother installed in his Kingsland home is covered in mud.
In 40 years of living there, he never saw the water as high as it was when the river barged inside Tuesday. He said the water went even higher than it did during the flood of 1997, filling his home with dirt and debris.
“You know there’s big swells over there, it looks like a whale was rolling over there,” Johnson said.
And he couldn’t believe it when a friend told him the Farm to Market 2900 bridge had collapsed.
The county says the bridge collapsed as a result of all the rapid water coming through the river.
“I was here when Lyndon B. Johnson was president and I saw it being built and I thought no, that bridge isn’t gone, sure enough, it was gone,” he said.
Lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz, were able to see what’s left of the bridge. Johnson said maybe some of them could help get disaster relief funding to the area or an extra pair of hands.
“Anyone who wants to come volunteer and help me clean up, they can volunteer and help me clean up,” Johnson said, laughing.
Despite the danger he says he can’t leave, he was born on the Llano River and that’s where he plans to stay.
“The Llano River is one of the untamed rivers of Texas,” Johnson said. “There are no dams, no controls on it, you just get what mother nature sends you but you better be prepared, it might send you a lot more than you think.”
Llano County said Wednesday that one woman’s body was found in the water in Llano after the flooding, Llano police are investigating. To their knowledge this is the only loss of life in their county related to this flooding
The county added that water systems in some areas have been compromised because of the flooding. Llano County has water distribution centers set up in Llano at the junior high school and in Kingsland at the community center, residents can get bottles of water at these centers.
The county is advising all residents who were evacuated to not return to their homes yet. With more rain in the forecast, the county doesn’t want to put residents at risk of being near any further flooding.