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Officials begin tallying storm damage

By DAVID TEWES
May 17, 2010 at 12:17 a.m.


While several locations had more, the official National Weather Service rainfall for Friday and Saturday totaled 6.02 inches.

That includes the recorded rainfall for the date of 4.42 inches on Saturday. The previous daily record was 1.11 inches set in 1992.

The biggest one-day total ever for May is the 7.65 inches that fell May 3, 1993.

INSIDESee what the Red Cross is doing to help Crossroads' residents A6

Last weekend's storm caused an estimated $650,000 to $750,000 to public property alone in Victoria County, prompting the commissioners court Monday to seek aid.

Mayor Will Armstrong and County Judge Don Pozzi have declared Victoria and Victoria County in a state of disaster. That could open up avenues for state funding for recovery.

"This is a big county and there was a lot of water on it," said Jeb Lacey, Victoria County's emergency management coordinator. He noted the damage estimate could change as more is discovered and the number doesn't include damage to private property, such as cars, houses and businesses.

A slow moving thunderstorm dropped up to 7.50 inches of rain in Victoria on Friday and Saturday, with most of it falling Saturday morning. At one time 35 percent of the city's streets were flooded and traveling became dangerous even for rescuers.

Lacey said early estimates indicate as many as 160 houses were flooded and 500 or more cars. He had no dollar estimate for that damage.

"It was definitely a busy weekend and not a pleasant one for some," Lacey said.

Part of the damage to public property included the sheriff's office, which Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor said suffered about $135,000 in losses. It also temporarily knocked out the sheriff's office ability to dispatch calls.

Chief Deputy Terry Simons said a rainwater drain on the roof broke, allowing water to flow into the second floor cell area of the sheriff's office. It then worked its way to the first floor, where it ended up in an electrical equipment room and affected the ability of dispatchers to work.

"We had 4 to 6 inches of water in the dispatch area," Simons said. "Most of our electrical equipment got wet and it took seven hours to do an emergency relocation of that equipment."

Sheriff's office dispatchers were forced to work from the city's 9-1-1 center next to 700 Main Center until the county system could be restored.

The department can continue working in the area of the sheriff's office where the equipment was relocated for another 30 days, if necessary, Simon said.

Most of the other damage involved roads, bridges, culverts and severe erosion of the West Outfall between Main and Vine streets, Lacey said.

Pozzi congratulated everyone for handling the natural disaster under difficult circumstances.

"Most of the damage, as I understand it, was within the incorporated city limits," he said. "But Victoria County includes the city."

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