Flooding hits towns still recovering from Hurricane Harvey


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Coastal Texas towns still recovering from Hurricane Harvey’s damage are now dealing with significant flooding throughout their cities. The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi says it’s seen more than a foot of rain in some areas over the last two days of flash flooding.

“We were in a severe drought just three days ago across a good portion of South Texas, but that has definitely been washed out and it has led to significant street flooding in Corpus, in Alice and then this morning, especially in Port Aransas and into Rockport,” Penny Zabel, a meteorologist with NWS Corpus Christi, said.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered increased readiness of the State Operations Center due to the heavy rain and storms along the coast.  

“Texas is no stranger to this type of severe weather and our emergency personnel are ready and well prepared to respond,” Abbott said in a news release. “Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of Texans and I encourage everyone in the affected areas to stays safe and heed all warnings from local officials.”

State resources included in the emergency response effort include the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management as well as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“We’ve been watching it,” Zabel said. “We’ve known this is coming for several days. For about a week now, we’ve been forecasting this to come in.”

The Austin Disaster Relief Network is working with a network of churches in the greater Austin area and helping with ongoing Hurricane Harvey recovery needs. Now, it’s monitoring what’s happening with flooding in Port Arthur, as well.

“Our phones have been lighting up at the call center with some of the families we’ve helped out in Port Arthur,” Daniel Geraci, executive director of the Austin Disaster Relief Network, said. “They’re calling us, letting us know that water is either about to creep into their house or has begun to come into the house and these are folks where we’ve already rebuilt their home.”

The Austin Disaster Relief Network is working with churches and funding their efforts to help rebuild homes in Port Arthur. In areas like Rockport, the organization is slated to provide furniture and other needs that families need. It’s also prepared with around 300 cleanup buckets for this severe weather season and is on standby to mobilize, organize and connect with communities in need this severe weather season.

Zabel’s biggest reminder with the floods: don’t drive into high waters.

“You have no idea how deep that water may be,” she said. “The road below could be washed out and if you drive through it, there’s a good chance it could wash your car away. It only takes a few inches of water to. Even though your car is large and it seems like it will make it, cars will not necessarily make it through even a few inches  of water.”

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