AEP Texas crews to repair or replace over 3,100 distribution poles

Marina Riker By Marina Riker

Aug. 24, 2017 at 2:50 p.m.
Updated Aug. 31, 2017 at 10:23 a.m.

Remains from a fire that broke out late Friday evening in the 500 block of Westwood Drive in Victoria, Texas on Saturday Aug. 26, 2017.

Remains from a fire that broke out late Friday evening in the 500 block of Westwood Drive in Victoria, Texas on Saturday Aug. 26, 2017.   NICOLAS GALINDO/NGALINDO@VICAD.COM for The Victoria Advocate

Updated at 8:30 a.m. Friday

AEP Texas crews are working to repair or replace over 3,100 distribution poles knocked down by Hurricane Harvey, the largest hurricane to hit the company’s service territory in 44 years. Crews also are repairing or replacing 300 transmission structures knocked down and 200 transmission structures damaged by the storm.

The storm was a Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall near Rockport on Friday night. Remnants of the hurricane have continued to cause excessive flooding and are now moving toward Ohio.

As of Friday at 8:30 a.m., AEP Texas has restored power to 150,800 customers of those left without electric service by Hurricane Harvey. In Corpus Christi, crews have restored power to 94,800 customers. We estimate that those in Corpus Christi will have power restored by 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, if not sooner. AEP Texas crews will continue to work until service has been restored to all customers impacted by the storm.

Damage assessment continues through the affected areas. AEP Texas is using drones and helicopters to supply aerial photography in some areas. Crews also are using cranes and other special equipment to support traditional restoration approaches.

Public Safety

AEP Texas reminds customers to not approach crews while they are working to restore power. Such actions are very unsafe and can cause distractions leading to accidents and injuries. Also, interrupting crews while they are working slows down the restoration process.

Please continue to consider all downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Please report downed power lines and other safety hazards like broken poles to AEPTexas.com or by calling (866) 223-8508.

Additionally, AEP Texas asks all consumers who are currently using generators to follow all safety precautions from the manufacturer. Generators should never be used inside the home.

Lastly, as power is being restored to customers around the area, residents are reminded to clear cooktops and electric stoves of any debris; and ovens should be turned off.

Outage map

Customers can track progress on the restoration effort by visiting the outage map at www.aeptexas.com.It features the most current available information. Customers also can sign up for outage alerts to receive updates via text or email.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. Thursday

As of Thursday at 9 p.m., AEP Texas has restored power to 144,100 customers of those left without electric service as a result of Hurricane Harvey. In Corpus Christi, crews have restored power to 90,950 customers.

As of Thursday, the number of distribution poles knocked down is 3,100. And 500 transmission structures were damaged or knocked down by the storm. Damage assessment continues through the affected areas.

Crews will continue to work until service has been restored to all customers impacted by the storm. Over 4,600 resources from around the country are working 14-16 hour days throughout the Coastal Bend area to provide safe and timely restoration of service to all customers whose homes or facilities can still take power. We estimate that those in Corpus Christi will have power restored by 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2. if not sooner.

Public Safety

AEP Texas reminds customers to not approach crews while they are working to restore power. Such actions are very unsafe and can cause distractions leading to accidents and injuries. Also, interrupting crews while they are working slows down the restoration process.

Please continue to consider all downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Please report downed power lines and other safety hazards like broken poles to AEPTexas.com or by calling (866) 223-8508.

Additionally, AEP Texas asks all consumers who are currently using generators to follow all safety precautions from the manufacturer. Generators should never be used inside the home.

Lastly, as power is being restored to customers around the area, residents are reminded to clear cooktops and electric stoves of any debris; and ovens should be turned off.

Outage map

Customers can track progress on the restoration effort by visiting the outage map at www.aeptexas.com. It features the most current available information. Customers also can sign up for outage alerts to receive updates via text or email.

Updated at 7 p.m. Thursday

AEP Texas' 5 p.m. report showed 100 more Victoria homes were without power than reported in its 11 a.m. Thursday update. In Victoria, 13,500 homes remained without power.

The report, city by city, is in the text box to the side of this story on desktop view. On mobile view, scroll to the end of the story to read the list.

AEP has restored power to 138,000 customers or over two-thirds of those left without electric service as a result of Hurricane Harvey. In Corpus Christi, crews have restored power to 86,450 customers.

Crews will continue to work until service has been restored to all customers impacted by the storm. Over 4,600 resources from around the country are working 14-16 hour days throughout the Coastal Bend area to provide safe and timely restoration of service to all customers whose homes or facilities can still take power. We estimate that those in Corpus Christi will have power restored by 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Public Safety

AEP Texas reminds customers to not approach crews while they are working to restore power. Such actions are very unsafe and can cause distractions leading to accidents and injuries. Also, interrupting crews while they are working slows down the restoration process.

Please continue to consider all downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Please report downed power lines and other safety hazards like broken poles to AEPTexas.com or by calling (866) 223-8508.

Additionally, AEP Texas asks all consumers who are currently using generators to follow all safety precautions from the manufacturer. Generators should never be used inside the home.

Lastly, as power is being restored to customers around the area, residents are reminded to clear cooktops and electric stoves of any debris; and ovens should be turned off.

Damage Assessments

As of Thursday, the number of distribution poles down is 3,100. And, 500 transmission structures were damaged or knocked down by the storm. Damage assessment continues through the affected areas.

Outage map

Customers can track progress on the restoration effort by visiting the outage map at www.aeptexas.com.It features the most current available information. Customers also can sign up for outage alerts to receive updates via text or email.

Updated 11:15 p.m.Thursday

POWER RECOVERY CONTINUES

AEP Texas and Victoria Electric Coop are working to fully restore power to residents. Businesses are re-opening as power is restored. Business owners are welcome to post information as they re-open on the “Victoria Back in Business” Facebook page.

As power is restored to traffic lights, motorists are reminded to treat every intersection, whether or not there is power, as a full-way stop.

AEP reports about 13,400 customers remain without power in Victoria County this morning. Restoration is expected to 95% of the customers by Saturday night. Victoria Electric Co-op anticipates most areas of Victoria County will have power restored over the weekend but some areas will not come back on line until next week. For restoration information, visit the VEC Facebook page.

WATER SERVICE

Water service continues uninterrupted. The boil notice remains in effect.

TRASH SERVICE TO RESUME

Regular collection of household trash only resumes Monday. No brush, construction debris, yard waste or recycling will be collected on the regular routes.

Residents who have more household trash than will fit in their container may use the yellow and green recycling cart for excess trash. Plastic bags and other garbage cans may be used for excess trash. All trash carts must be at least five feet away from the nearest object, including parked vehicles and piled limbs. Do not place trash or brush on top of water or gas meters.

The temporary courtesy household waster drop off sites at Solid Waste Department offices at 1701 SW Ben Jordan and the Del Norte Complex at 8505 N. Navarro (enter on Bingham) remain open through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for household trash only. Construction and storm debris will not be accepted. Trash should be in plastic bags when taken to the drop off locations. Residents should NOT leave trash at the gates when the centers are closed.

Commercial pick up service has resumed.

Brush collection (tree limbs and other yard waste only) begins across the city Friday morning. Residents should stack limbs and brush neatly in an accessible area but not so close to the street that the stack could fall out into the street or impede drainage. Do not park vehicles in front of stacks.

Brush collection will be a lengthy process as crews pick up large amounts of tree limbs and other yard debris. Bagged yard waste may be stacked on the limb pile or can be collected at a later time. Fencing materials or other storm debris is not being picked up at this time.

The landfill and compost site is open from 7 am to 5 pm. The regular fee schedule for the landfill and compost site applies. All loads must be secure and covered.

RIVER FLOODING

The Guadalupe River is at crest, topping at 31.25 feet overnight. The river levels will continue in the range of 31 feet for the rest of the day and then begin a very slow fall. The river is expected to stay in flood stage well into next week.

At Bloomington, the river at 7 a.m. was at 28.53 feet with an expected crest of 30 feet tomorrow afternoon.

WATER AND ICE DISTRIBUTION

The distribution center for water and ice at the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North, will be open from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Meals will also be available for distribution.

DONATE TO THE VICTORIA DISASTER RELIEF FUND

A GoFundMe page authorized by the City of Victoria and Victoria County has been established. Funds raised will support the unmet needs of residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey. https://www.gofundme.com/victoria-tx-disaster-relief-fund.

Click here to support Victoria TX Disaster Relief Fund organized by John A Johnston

www.gofundme.com

In August of 2017, Victoria Texas was devastated by Category 4-rated Hurricane Harvey and the massive flood that resulted. These funds will be used to support the un-met needs of residents who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Victoria County United Way is also accepting donations designated to member agencies for disaster services. Text “Victoria” to 313-131 for the link.

CURFEW, EVACUATION ORDERS

The 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in effect every night until further notice.

The Mandatory Evacuation Order for areas expected to experience river and stream flooding is still in effect.

FEMA APPLICATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE

Residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey can apply for FEMA assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via a mobile app. A toll-free number is also available: 1-800-621-3362.

Home | DisasterAssistance.gov | Access to Disaster Help ...

www.disasterassistance.gov

To find help for your immediate needs, please enter an address to get a list of the closest FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs), starting with the closest three.

Residents who have registered for FEMA assistance may be visited by a FEMA representative. These agents carry official credentials and will make contact prior to their arrival.

To report suspicious activity or individuals you believe are impersonating ICE/FEMA officials, call 866-347-2423 immediately.

FEMA provides the following steps to protect yourself from scam artists who may pose as government officials, aid workers, charitable organizations, or insurance company employees:

• Ask for identification and don’t be afraid to hang up on cold callers.

• Contact government agencies using information posted on their websites or in other official sources.

• Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or contracts with blank spaces.

INFORMATION HOTLINE

The Harvey Information Hotline continues in operation daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 361-580-5796.

VOLUNTEER/DONATION HOTLINE

To volunteer or make donations to assist victims of Harvey, please call 361-580-5790.

MAIL SERVICE

Carrier mail delivery has resumed. Access is available to post office boxes at James Moody Post Office, 2804 Sam Houston Drive. PO Box delivery at the Post Office location at 312 S. Main St. remains suspended.

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

FEMA ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has opened a registration process for people who have been significantly impacted by Hurricane Harvey and have no other available resources available to help in their recovery. Register at www.fema.gov or download the FEMA app. Applicants should make certain they keep their registration number. This is critical in processing the application for assistance.

WATER AND ICE

Water and ice will be available at the distribution center Wednesday at the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North Street. The hours for the distribution are 11 am to 6 pm.

WASTE DROP OFF LOCATIONS CONTINUE; COMPOST SITE OPENS WEDNESDAY

The temporary courtesy HOUSEHOLD WASTE drop off sites at Solid Waste Department offices at 1701 SW Ben Jordan and the Del Norte Complex at 8505 N. Navarro (Enter on Bingham) will be open through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is for household trash only. Construction and storm debris will not be accepted. Trash should be in plastic bags when taken to the drop off location.

Residents should NOT leave trash at the gates when the centers are closed.

Residents who do not want to wait for city crews to pick up yard debris from Hurricane Harvey may take limbs to the Compost site located next to the landfill at 18125 FM 1686 beginning Wednesday. The compost site will open for limb and brush drop off from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Loads must be secured and covered. There is a fee based on the size of load.

Regular collection of household trash will resume Monday. Solid Waste crews have been hard at work since Saturday to clear streets of debris, brush, low hanging limbs, power lines and cables, to provide for access for the trash trucks.

The regular scheduled residential pickup is for household trash only. No brush, construction debris, yard waste or recycling will be picked up.

Residents who have more household trash than will fit in their container may use their yellow and green recycling cart for excess trash. Additionally, residents may use plastic bags and other garbage cans for excess trash. All trash carts must be at least five feet away from the nearest object, including parked vehicles.

A contractor, AshBritt, will be collecting the yard waste and other hurricane debris by neighborhood at no charge to the resident. The schedules will be announced at a later time.

Residents may take their tree limbs and yard waste to the Regional Compost site at 18125 FM 1686. All loads must be secured and covered. The normal fee will apply based on the size of the load.

Landfill and compost facility will open Monday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Commercial garbage pick-up resumed this morning.

BOIL NOTICE

The boil water notice is still in effect for any tap water that will be consumed. Water that will be used for drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth should be boiled for two minutes.

ELECTRICITY

Residents still awaiting power should unplug their major appliances or flip breakers to prevent damage to appliances when the power is restored.

With 600 people now working on power restoration for AEP and another 300 people working for Victoria Electric Co-op, progress is being made on a daily basis.

AEP estimates that at least 95 percent of customers in Victoria will have their power back by late Saturday night. In Bloomington and Placedo, the work is continuing to restore power to the substations. Once that work is completed, the crews will be able to move out onto the lateral lines and homes will begin to be restored.

SAFE AND WELL

The Red Cross has opened a website to allow family members to check the safety of other members who have evacuated to Austin. The site, safeandwell.communityos.org, allows evacuees and their loved ones in other locations to make contact with each other. The site registrations are confidential and accessible only for those registered with the service. People impacted by the storm can register as “Safe and Well” and family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “Safe and Well.”

Safe and Well - VisionLink

safeandwell.communityos.org

After a disaster, letting your family and friends know that you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. This website is designed to help make ...

CURFEW, EVACUATION ORDERS

The 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in effect every night until further notice.

The Mandatory Evacuation Order for the City of Victoria and Victoria County has been lifted with the exception of areas that are expected to experience river and stream flooding.

CITY/COUNTY SCHEDULES

The Victoria Public Library and Victoria Police Department are closed until further notice.

The Development Services Permits and Inspections Department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to issue contractor licenses and permits for hurricane damage repairs.

With the exception of the Library and Police Department, all other city offices are open during regular hours.

County offices are closed until Sept. 5.

PERMITTING INFORMATION

· Permits are required for re-roofs, other than minor shingle repairs.

· Permits are not required for wooden privacy fences; but rules on the placement of fences should be followed. Contractors repairing fences must remove old fence debris.

· Structures in the floodplain require additional review and a floodplain permit.

· The City does not require permits for tree removal. Please follow debris removal notices.

· Permits are not required to replace a window or repair window glass.

· Permits are not required for minor exterior repairs such as replacing siding when less than 25% of the structure is being repaired.

· Permits are not required to replace a sign face; permits are required for sign structures.

· Construction debris removal is the responsibility of the property owner and/or contractor. Construction debris shall be hauled to the landfill or compost facility or removed by an approved waste hauler (Waste Management).

Businesses and individuals in need of Itinerant Vendor Permits should go to the City Development Center/Permits Office at 702 N. Main from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A representative of the City Secretary’s Office will be available to issue permits for vendors. (Itinerant vendors include anyone who solicits business on a door-to-door basis. This includes tree-trimmers, debris services and such.)

For information about permits and contractor licenses, please call 361-485-3320.

DONATE TO THE VICTORIA DISASTER RELIEF FUND

A GoFundMe page authorized by the City of Victoria and Victoria County has been established. Funds raised will be used to support the unmet needs of residents who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

https://www.gofundme.com/victoria-tx-disaster-relief-fund

AIRPORT

The Victoria Regional Airport resumes regular commercial air traffic Wednesday.

RIVER FLOOD UPDATE

The Guadalupe River is almost at the level of a Major Flood event. The river at 10 am was at 30.9 feet and rising. The river will crest at 31.4 feet at 1 am Thursday.

The River at Bloomington is in Major Flood stage with a 3 pm reading of 27.41 feet and rising. A crest of 29.8 feet is predicted at 7 am Friday.

Updated at 12:45 p.m.

The city of Victoria issued this statement:

FALSE RUMOR -- There is no truth to the rumor that the City will be shutting down the water system. It took a CAT 4 hurricane named Harvey to shut down our water system for the first time ever, we have no plans to shut it down now.

Updated at 11:30 a.m.

TRASH COLLECTION RESUMES MONDAY

Regular collection of household trash will resume Monday. Solid Waste crews have been hard at work since Saturday to clear streets of debris, brush, low hanging limbs, power lines and cables, to provide for access for the trash trucks.

The regular scheduled residential pickup is for household trash only. No brush, construction debris, yard waste or recycling will be picked up.

Residents who have more household trash than will fit in their container may use their yellow and green recycling cart for excess trash. Additionally, residents may use plastic bags and other garbage cans for excess trash. All trash carts must be at least five feet away from the nearest object, including parked vehicles.

A contractor, AshBritt, will be collecting the yard waste and other hurricane debris by neighborhood at no charge to the resident. The schedules will be announced at a later time.

Residents may take their tree limbs and yard waste to the Regional Compost site at 18125 FM 1686. All loads must be secured and covered. The normal fee will apply based on the size of the load.

The Landfill and compost facility will open Monday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Commercial garbage pick-up resumed Wednesday morning.

TRASH COLLECTION RESUMES MONDAY

Regular collection of household trash will resume on Monday. Solid Waste crews have been hard at work since Saturday to clear streets of debris, brush, low hanging limbs, power lines and cables, to provide for access for the trash trucks.

The regular scheduled residential pickup is for household trash only. No brush, construction debris, yard waste or recycling will be picked up.

Residents who have more household trash than will fit in their container may use their yellow and green recycling cart for excess trash. Additionally, residents may use plastic bags and other garbage cans for excess trash. All trash carts must be at least five feet away from the nearest object, including parked vehicles.

A contractor, AshBritt, will be collecting the yard waste and other hurricane debris by neighborhood at no charge to the resident. The schedules will be announced at a later time.

Residents may take their tree limbs and yard waste to the Regional Compost site at 18125 FM 1686. All loads must be secured and covered. The normal fee will apply based on the size of the load.

The Landfill and compost facility will open Monday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Commercial garbage pick-up resumed this morning.

Victoria Christian Ministry offer free lunch Wednesday

Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry, through the kindness of a volunteer, will be offering free brisket sandwiches to any and all until in runs out in the parking lot of VCAM starting at noon today.

Through the kindness of strangers are we able to do our part in helping those affected by Hurricane Harvey

Updated at 10:30 a.m.

Traffic lights are not functioning properly at almost every major intersection in Victoria. The city urged motorists to be cautious and treat these intersection as four-way stops.

Updated at 8 a.m. Monday

Ongoing major flooding on the Guadalupe River continued Wednesday in Victoria and Bloomington, according to the National Weather Service.

The flooding will take several days to subside. The river is projected to crest in Victoria at 31.2 feet between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. At 31 feet, generally the Greens Addition Subdivision floods. Areas west of Moody Street between Water Street and Constitution Street generally flood causing limited access in the area as well as to homes near Club Westerner. Much of the floodplain below the confluence is flooded several miles wide.

The Guadalupe River near Bloomington is projected to crest near 29.6 feet late Thursday. At 28 feet, water approaches the levees near the San Antonio River confluence. Miles of U.S. 35 and the floodplain near it flood, cutting off many homes and flooding a fishing camp near Tivoli. Livestock are cut off and may drown.

Copano Creek near Refugio is projected to crest at 16.9 feet Wednesday morning but will slowly fall and remain in flood stage for several days. At 17 feet, the river is 200 yards wide at the Farm-to-Market road 774 bridge.

Garcitas Creek near Inez crested between Sunday night and Monday morning at 24.38 feet and is no longer in flood stage.

Mission River near Refugio crested between Monday night and Tuesday morning at 25.42 feet and is no longer in flood stage.

Harvey is located about 25 miles west northwest of lake Charles, La. Maximum winds are 45 mph and the storm is moving north at about 9 mph. Harvey made landfall overnight bringing a lot of rain on the Texas-Louisiana border. As it moves inland, it will weaken from a tropical storm to tropical depression Wednesday and Thursday as it continues on its northeast path bringing rain to the Tennessee River Valley area.

AccuWeather predicts Hurricane Harvey to be the most costly natural disaster in the nation’s history.

By the time its total destruction is completed, the economy’s impact will approach $160 billion, which is similar to the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, AccuWeather president Joel N. Myers said in a press release. Business leaders and the Federal Reserve, major banks, insurance companies should begin to factor in the negative impact this catastrophe will have on business, corporate earnings and employment, he said.

“The meteorologist forecasting community as a whole did a very good job in warning people about this storm,” Myers said in the press release. “Public officials were slow, in some cases, to react or to know what to do, which affected too many people and caused the loss of property and damage and destruction.”

On another note, Wednesday will be mostly sunny in Victoria with a high in the lower 90s and northeast wind 10 to 15 mph.

Wednesday night will be mostly clear with a low around 70 degrees and a light west wind increasing to 10 mph.

Thursday will be mostly sunny with a high in the lower 90s and a northeast wind 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday night will be mostly clear with a low in the lower 70s and a light southwest wind.

Updated at 3:39 p.m. Tuesday

FINDING YOUR DISPLACED LOVED ONE

The Red Cross has opened a website to allow family members to check the safety of other members who have evacuated to Austin. The site, safeandwell.communityos.org, allows evacuees and their loved ones in other locations to make contact with each other.

The site registrations are confidential and accessible only for those registered with the service. People impacted by the storm can register as “Safe and Well” and family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “Safe and Well.”

Water, Ice and Food Available:

The Community Center distribution point will be opening at noon today to provide whatever ice and water supplies may be available at that time. Supplies are limited. The Salvation Army is setting up to distribute meals at the Community Center distribution site on Tuesday, Aug. 29 beginning at noon. The Community Center is located at 2905 North Street.

Updated at 12:55 p.m.

Halftime Grill and Sports, 2902 N. Navarro St., will offer 500 free lunches at 2 p.m. today.

Updated at 1:00 a.m. Tuesday

Are you a business owner planning to reopen after Hurricane Harvey?

The city is asking residents to share information about businesses that are back open on a Facebook page called, Victoria Back in Business. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaBackinBusiness/?fref=ts

Additionally, the city is reminding residents to ask contractors for a written agreement before hiring them to repair homes and businesses. Residents should also wait to pay for work until after it's been completed.

Although regular trash pick up hasn't resumed, residents can drop off household trash - but not storm debris - at at 1701 SW Ben Jordan or the Del Norte Complex at 8505 N. Navarro Tuesday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the city.

The city is working to create a schedule for debris pick up.

Updated at 7:30 p.m.

From a news release:

Victoria County is no longer under a tropical storm warning, and the flood threat is slowly decreasing. An additional 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches of rainfall due to Harvey is possible through Tuesday.

The Guadalupe River in Victoria is expected to crest at 30.9 feet Wednesday evening.

The Guadalupe River at Bloomington is expected to crest on Friday at 29.5 feet.

Sunshine returns to the forecast for Thursday!

WATER SERVICE

Water service has been restored 100 percent, but a boil notice remains in effect. Residents should plan for the boil notice to remain in place for up to a week. The Public Works Department continues to ask residents to conserve water.

WATER, ICE DISTRIBUTION

The distribution centers at the Victoria Community Center and Victoria East High School will be back in service tomorrow from noon to 5 p.m. Water and ice will be available as long as supplies last.

ELECTRICAL SERVICE

Progress is being made to restore electrical service across the area. AEP and Victoria Electric Co-op are still hard at work.

TRAFFIC CONTROL

As power is restored to intersections, traffic lights are being placed on all way red flash. A limited number of stop signs are being placed at intersections. Regardless of whether there are lights or signs, or the intersection remains open, motorists are reminded to treat each intersection as a four-way stop.

GASOLINE

As more stores have power restored, gasoline supplies will begin to ease. However, motorists should be mindful that statewide gasoline supplies have been interrupted by major refineries being out of service periodically in Corpus Christi and Houston.

TRASH SERVICE

Residents will be able to take household trash only to one of two drop stations beginning tomorrow. Drop off locations are at Solid Waste Department offices at 1701 SW Ben Jordan or the Del Norte Complex at 8505 N. Navarro Tuesday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is for household trash only. Construction and storm debris will not be accepted. Trash should be in plastic trash bags when taken to the drop off locations.

CURFEW

The 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in effect nightly until further notice.

REPAIR WORK, GETTING BACK IN BUSINESS

All contractors working in our community must have a valid contractor’s license with the City of Victoria to perform any work within the city, including emergency repairs. Contractors wishing to apply for a license should contact the Development Center/Permit Office. The Permit Office will be open at 7 am Tuesday and is located at 702 N. Main. Please enter through the middle set of doors off the main parking lot to enter the building.

RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS

Restaurants planning to reopen during the water boil notice time must comply with a series of guidelines provided by the Department of State Health Services. The Victoria County Public Health Department advises it is possible to reopen, but there will be some steps owners will need to take.

The Department of State Health Services has a publication that provides the regulations for restaurants at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/foodestablishments/guidance.aspx. Information is also available by calling the Environmental Division of the Victoria County Public Health Department at 361-578-6281 or the Department of State Health Services at 512-834-6753.

Regulatory Clarifications, Guidance Documents and General ...

www.dshs.texas.gov

Regulatory Clarifications, Guidance Documents and General Publications - Retail Food Establishments

GOVERNMENT OFFICES

All other city and county offices will remain closed Tuesday.

Updated at 4:55 p.m.

Victoria is recovering.

“And frankly, it’s going pretty well,” city spokesman O.C. Garza said Monday afternoon.

Water service was restored early Monday, and electricity provided by AEP is expected to be restored to 95 percent of customers by Saturday while electricity provided by Victoria County Electric Co-op is expected to be restored within the next two weeks.

Most of the city’s water is running on electricity provided by AEP, but one pump station is running on a generator, Garza said.

In addition to boiling it for safety, Garza asked that people conserve as much water as possible so the city has enough to respond to emergencies, such as fires, while the city’s five towers fill up.

The city also is trying to get access to its landfill so it can begin picking up trash. Downed power lines cut off access to it.

In the meantime, residents are asked to drop off trash at Navarro Del Norte, 8505 N. Navarro St., and the city of Victoria Solid Waste, 1701 S.W. Ben Jordan St. The sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The sites will not accept brush, construction or storm debris.

Here are some other signs Victoria is returning to normal:

· Repairs to traffic lights are underway.

· Citizens Medical Center and DeTar Hospital Navarro are treating people who sustain life-threatening injuries. The Victoria ER on North Navarro Street, a free-standing emergency services center, is open.

· The city of Victoria and Victoria County offices will open Wednesday.

· The juvenile docket for municipal court for Wednesday has been canceled.

· Those on provation who were scheduled to report from Sunday to Friday are instructed to report Tuesday.

Here’s a sign things might get worse before they get better for some:

The Guadalupe River is expected to rise to 31.5 feet Wednesday and remain high until Friday.

Garza said he expects the Greens Addition, Bottom Road, Craig Street and Constitution Street to flood.

“But we won’t have anywhere near the amount of water that we had in 1998,” Garza said.

Victoria also is expecting an additional two to four inches of rain in the next 48 hours.

Updated at 4:30 p.m.

City spokesman O.C. Garza said the city is not under a mandatory evacuation. However, there will be a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice.

Updated at 2:26 p.m.

The Solid Waste Department is opening two temporary sites Tuesday where residents can take household trash only. No brush, construction, or storm debris will be accepted.

This is a day by day service that will be offered until normal trash collection resumes.

The trash drop-off sites will be open from 8 am to 6 pm at the following locations:

• Navarro Del Norte, 8505 N. Navarro

• City of Victoria Solid Waste, 1701 SW. Ben Jordan

Updated at 2:26 p.m.

There is a curfew in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. Monday.

Water service is being restored across the city, according to a news release. The boil water notice remains in effect.

The city is encouraging residents to conserve water so the towers can refill.

Water and ice will be distributed from noon to 6 at the Victoria Community Center and Victoria East High School.

Most of the city's traffic lights were damaged by Harvey. As power is restored, more traffic lights will begin to flash. Motorists should treat "all red" intersections as four-way stops.

Updated at 8 a.m. Monday

Victoria residents can breathe a sigh of relief -- the city is working to restore running water to residents Monday morning.

At 8 a.m. Monday, the city announced its water service should be up and running within the next few hours. However, residents must boil water before using it for drinking, cooking or washing their hands and face.

Lt. Bryan Simons, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said residents don't have to boil water before showering.

The city is still asking residents to conserve water because it will take time to refill water towers.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. Sunday

Victoria residents could see some relief -- AEP has said about 95 percent of Victoria's customers could have electricity by Saturday night, according to the city.

Residents also can receive free water and ice at distribution centers, which are located at Victoria East High School on 4103 E. Mockingbird and the Victoria Community Center on 2905 E. North St. The centers will be open from noon to 6 p.m.

Starting Monday, the city also will start accepting phone calls from residents who need to report problems with water services and roads. Residents can call 361-485-3381 between the hours of 8 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday.

Updated at 8:39 p.m., Sunday

Residential trash collection is temporarily halted to allow city crews to clear streets of limbs and debris, said Jennifer Sourdellia, of the city's communications office.

Crews are clearing debris on major thoroughfares. Limbs will be pushed out of the streets, placed on curbs and will be picked up later.

If residents see limbs and debris blocking storm drains, move them out of the way. Place them on the side of the street, out of the roadway.

Waste Management will not have commercial garbage collection services on Monday. The Landfill is also closed.

Updated at 2:55 p.m.

The city is not releasing water from any dams. There is no immediate thread to downtown from flooding, as some have posted on social media. If you hear a rumor, please call the newsroom at 361-574-1222. We will check it out before posting. Thank you.

UPDATED 2:49 p.m.

Latest update from the City of Victoria: There is no truth to the rumor that firefighters are at the Victoria city limits turning people away that are returning to Victoria.

UPDATED 9:30 A.M.

High winds and pouring rains from Hurricane Harvey destroyed parts of the city’s critical water system, which could leave residents without water for days.

On Sunday morning, city spokesman O.C. Garza updated residents on the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Most likely, residents could be without basic necessities such as water and electricity at least a few days as crews work around the clock to repair damage, he said.

“If you look at the scenario of Victoria right now, it’s pretty grim” Garza said. “Harvey had a pretty devastating impact on us, but it’s recoverable.”

It’s been nearly 24 hours since residents have been without water and electricity. Before water can return, crews must restore electricity to the entire system, and then water must be tested before it can be supplied to residents - something that could take days, he said.

Meanwhile, electricity companies are prioritizing restoring power to the city’s water system and hospitals before looking at residential damage, Garza said. Depending on where residents live, it could be days or weeks before power is restored.

“Unfortunately, residents are a low priority for AEP until they get a lot more crews in,” Garza said, adding that the region’s hospitals are currently running off generators.

With no businesses or gas stations open as of Sunday morning, Garza said residents who evacuated the city might be better off waiting to return. But if residents must come back to Victoria, they should do so with enough food, water and gas to last at least a few days, he said.

A curfew is still in place for Victoria residents. The curfew will start at 10 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday morning, according to the Victoria County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. The curfew allows city crews time to assess damage and clear hazardous debris from the roadways.

But there is some good news, Garza said. So far, rainfall projections haven’t been as intense as expected. Still, there could be severe flooding near creeks and rivers such as the Guadalupe River, he said.

“The city is not in the greatest of shape right now,” said Garza. Dozens of trees, debris from buildings and utilities lines have fallen on building and streets alike.

As of Sunday morning, there wasn’t a cost estimate for damages to the region.

UPDATED 7:30 P.M.

The city of Victoria has asked that anyone who gets water restored by sure to boil water before using it for cooking, drinking or washing your face and hands.

As of Saturday evening, the city didn't know when water would be restored to all Victoria residents.

UPDATED 6:45 P.M.

The Victoria Regional Airport could be home to several rescue and emergency aircraft within the next few days, said Vinicio "Lenny" Llerena, the airport's director.

There was some damage following Hurricane Harvey, but nothing that will prevent emergency responders such as the National Guard from using aircraft to conduct rescues at the airport.

"We have a little bit of hangar damage," said Llerena. "The runway is good."

Rescue missions will most likely start Sunday, he said.

"We got our work cut out," he said."But otherwise we're in business."

UPDATED 6:30 P.M.

About 30,000 Victoria American Electric Power customers ares still without power.

AEP crew began assessing damage on the company's electric system by Harvey Saturday afternoon, according to a press release.

Crews began restoration activities in the Crossroads.

The company plans to issue a preliminary estimated event restoration time on Sunday, which will project the service restoration date to 95 percent of those who lost power from Hurricane Harvey.

The company's primary objective is to restore service to customers as safely and quickly as possible.

As of 4:30 p.m Saturday about 210,00 customers in Corpus Christi and surrounding areas were without power.

Customers can report down power lines and and situations that could pose a safety threat by calling 866-223-8508.

Residents can track restoration progress by visiting aeptexas.com The website shows a real-time map with outages with the most current information.

UPDATED 5:50 P.M.

Power has been restored in several buildings in downtown Victoria. City officials have said power turning on is critical to being able to resume water service.

UPDATED 5:45 P.M.

Anyone who steals from people, homes or businesses after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Victoria County will go to jail, warmed District Attorney Steve Tyler.

"Our policy is zero tolerance for any looting or bad behavior during a state of emergency," said Tyler. "The state will only seek incarceration for anybody who steals."

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, law enforcement have prepared for the worst as Victoria residents' food and water supplies dwindle. Early Saturday morning, looters took snacks and other items at HEB Plus, police officials said.

Whenever a disaster situation is declared, Texas prosecutors can increase the penalties for people who commit crimes such as burglary, theft or robbery, Tyler said. If anyone commits those crimes in Victoria, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, he said.

"The only thing that can make it a little more miserable is if people are at one another'a throat," he said.

Meanwhile, city officials have said it could be until Sunday morning before there is an update on electricity and water service.

They also are asking residents for help to clear tree branches and other debris that could lead to more flooding by clogging storm drains.

The city is expected to receive nearly a year's worth of rainfall in the next few days. Residents are asked to help prevent catastrophic flooding by clearing branches and stacking them into piles for the city to pick up later, according to a news release.

Residents ccur branches no more than 8 feet long and stack them into an area where they can't float into the street.

When picking up branches, residents should watch for downed power lines and report them to their utility providers.

Updated at 4:15 p.m.

Victoria residents are running out of water, forcing some to question whether to leave the city in the midst of dangerous flooding and blocked roadways.

"We're collecting water to boil for our dog to drink," said Brandon Georgie, who lives in the north part of the city with his grandparents.

Like thousands of other Victoria residents, Georgie is facing dwindling a dwindling water supply after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the city's water system and shut off power for thousands of homes. City officials said crews are working as quickly as possible to turn water service back on, but there is no estimate for when that could be.

Georgie, who is studying information technology at Victoria College, said he and his grandparents will risk the trek to San Antonio on Sunday if water service doesn't resume.

"We're just trying to gauge whether they're able to fix it quickly," said Georgie, 27. "And if not, we'll have to go up."

As rain pelted the city Saturday afternoon, more than 24,000 homes were without power in Victoria -- just a fraction of more than 200,000 without power in areas spanning from Corpus Christi to Houston, according to the electricity company AEP.

Power lines dropped and trees fell when Hurricane Harvey ravaged the city, some blocking roadways. Electricity companies have not yet said when power will return.

The outages and water problems come after the county issued a mandatory evacuation Thursday evening. But many residents stayed, and have been forced to deal with the storm's dangerous consequences.

Those who did flee, however, have wondered if it's safe to return.

For now, the answer is no, city officials said.

The city mandated a curfew starting at noon Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday in hopes of allowing first responders and maintenance crew to clear streets of downed trees, electrified power lines and intersection signals. Roads are starting to flood, while others are closed entirely.

Early Saturday morning, looters ravaged snacks and other items from HEB Plus, police officials said. The deadly storm conditions forced law enforcement to respond only to life-threatening calls until wind speeds weakened around noon.

Update at 2 p.m.

Winds and rains from Hurricane Harvey have stopped the city from providing clean drinking water.

Crews are working as quickly as possible to fix the system, which isn't able to pump clean drinking water into water towers. The city said it will let residents know as soon as water system is operating.

Updated at 12:30 p.m.

As dangerous hurricane winds weakened midday Saturday, Victoria's emergency responders headed out to assess damage.

Lt. Eline Moya, a spokeswoman for the Victoria Police Department, said first responders are braving risky road conditions to identify and clear damage ranging from dangerous downed power lines to fallen trees.

Law enforcement also will start responding to some 911 calls. During the height of Harvey, police responded only to calls for help with life-threatening situations.

City officials have enacted a curfew effective immediately until 6 a.m. Sunday so crews can make roadways safe. Residents should stay in their homes or shelters until then.

A curfew will go into effect again from 10 p.m. Sunday through 6 a.m. Monday.

Updated at 10:20 a.m.

The city of Victoria is telling all residents to boil water after power outages have wreaked havoc on water system operations.

All water for drinking and cooking must be boiled before use, the city announced Saturday morning. Residents should also boil water before washing their hands and face, in addition to brushing their teeth.

Instead of boiling water, residents can use bottled water. Otherwise, water should be brought up to a vigorous boil for two minutes, according to the city.

City spokesman O.C. Garza said the city will let residents know immediately when water consumption is safe. That won't happen until the power returns or the roads are safe enough for city crews to repair water infrastructure, he said.

Updated at 9:45 a.m.

Raging winds and pouring rain will make Victoria's streets unsafe for travel for at least the rest of the day, said city spokesman O.C. Garza.

Hurricane Harvey has unleashed 8 inches of rain on Victoria so far and could dump another 30 inches in the next few days, Garza said. However, the winds, which are currently over 55 mph with gusts up to 84 mph, will start to die down after Saturday, he said.

"We're at the worst right now, but it'll stay bad through his whole day," Garza said about 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Downed power lines, traffic lights and trees are currently blocking roads throughout the county. The roads are unsafe even for the city's first responders, he said.

"We are currently responding on a case-by-case basis," he said.

So far, no injuries have been reported. However, first responders have responded only to calls that are life- threatening, he said.

About 540 people are in shelters in Bloomington and Victoria, Garza said.

Even as Harvey weakens, Victoria is expected to receive dangerous amounts of rainfall. Some of the smaller creeks in the area could be flooded as soon as this evening, he said.

"We're expecting a year's worth of rain in five days," he said.

Residents should also conserve water -- specifically by turning off automatic sprinkler systems and washing clothes. As the ground soaks up inches of rain, risk for problems such as water pipes breaking could increase, he said.

Updated at 6:30 a.m.

High winds and downed trees were among the impacts of Hurricane Harvey Saturday morning as the storm inched toward Victoria.

While emergency responders mopped up water that seeped into the door leading to Victoria's emergency operations center, Lt. Bryan Simons, a spokesman for the Victoria sheriff's office, said the storm's winds were expected to slightly decrease to 80 to 90 mph by the time they hit Victoria.

Even before the storm moved over the city, there widespread power outages throughout the area, Simons said.

Updated at 6:15 a.m. Saturday

More than 18,000 AEP customers are experiencing outages as of 6 a.m. Saturday, according to AEP data.

AEP said the outages were caused by weather and the company was currently accessing the situation.

There are also reports of cable and internet outages throughout the city, according to Suddenlink data. The exact number of outages is unknown.

Power was lost to the Victoria Advocate building at 311 E. Constitution St. Limited operations are continuing via backup generators.

Updated at 10:15 p.m.

All rivers and creeks in Victoria face record-breaking floods, but residents have ran out of time to flee the city, Victoria's top flood expert said late Friday night.

As Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm, John Johnston, a city engineer who specializes in flooding, said the storm could bring catastrophic and record-breaking flooding with up to 40 inches expected as the storm hits the area.

All of Victoria's rivers are expected to break historical records -- the only exception could be the Guadalupe River, which flooded parts of the city in 1998, he said.

"We've never seen this much rain in our area as long as I've been here, and I've been here 25 years," said Johnston. "Some people have been here longer, but I've never heard of a forecast of 40 inches in our area."

Right now, the Guadalupe River could rise to 32 feet, a huge surge over a recent depth of about 6 to 7 feet, according to estimates.

When asked what residents can do to prepare for the catastrophic flooding, Johnston sighed, then paused.

"The rain is among us," Johnston said. "There's nothing you can do now -- now and between when the rain comes."

He added: "What's going to happen is going to happen."

Unfortunately, the wind is too dangerous at this point for residents to safely evacuate, Johnston said. Instead, residents can try to elevate furniture or block doors and garages with sandbags if they haven't already, he said.

Most importantly, resident should not drive in streets that are flooded -- it's dangerous for them, but also can cause flooding in homes along the roadway, he said.

Updated at 9:40 p.m.

Hurricane Harvey could bring dangerous and record-breaking flooding matched only by the historic 1998 flood, the city of Victoria's top flood expert said Friday.

Up to 40 inches is expected by the time the storm leaves the area.

John Johnston, a city engineer who specializes in flooding, said all of Victoria's rivers and creeks are expected to break historical records, including those set in 1998. The only exception could be the Guadalupe River, which might not flood to '98 levels, he said.

The Guadalupe River could rise to 32 feet, a huge surge over a recent depth of about 6 to 7 feet, according to estimates.

Unfortunately, the wind is too dangerous at this point for residents to safely evacuate, Johnston said. Instead, residents can try to elevate furniture or block doors and garages with sandbags if they haven't already, he said.

Most importantly, resident should not drive in streets that are flooded - it's dangerous for them and also can cause flooding in homes along the roadway, he said.

Updated at 8:40 p.m.

A duplex burned to the ground about 8:15 p.m. Friday in the 500 block of Westwood Drive.

Joe Ramirez, who lives about a block and a half away, said he was in his backyard when he saw a strange flash and then smelled smoke. A small fire quickly became a huge blaze, he said, fueled by the high winds.

"Man, it's bad bro," said Ramirez, a safety tech for Dow Chemical. "I don't know how much longer they're going to be able to fight it" because of the weather conditions.

The fire burned for more than an hour and was just starting to show some signs of abating at 9:25 p.m., he said.

"That building is demolished," he said. "It's gone."

Nearby homes in the Tanglewood neighborhood lost power, but Ramirez said his block served by underground power lines and still had its lights on.

Ramirez said he sent his family to stay with relatives in Schulenberg. His sister and brother-in-law from Port Lavaca came to stay with him.

"We should have left," he said. "You can't underestimate Mother Nature. The storm went from a tropical depression to Category 1 to 4 in a matter of hours."

Updated at 6:05 p.m.

Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4, is now expected to drench some parts of Victoria County with 40 inches of rainfall, spurring county officials to plead with residents in low areas to move to higher ground.

Deputy Bryan Simons, a spokesman for the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, said residents near any river or creek in the county should make immediate preparations to prepare for life-threatening flooding. Ranchers and farmers with livestock should quickly move to higher ground, he said.

While Simons spoke with reporters, dozens of city and county employees hauled food and water into the building, just a floor above the county's emergency operations center. More than 250 government employees - the majority of first responders - were cramped into the building, bracing for the storm's impact.

As of Friday evening, all of Victoria County's emergency shelters were full and not accepting more evacuees, said Simons. If residents are still in the Victoria area, they should ready themselves for the storm wherever they are, he said.

Additionally, residents shouldn't call electricity companies to report power outages, Simons said. They should, however, call to report downed power lines, which can pose an extreme safety hazard.

Updated at 2:35 p.m.

Victoria County leaders are urging residents to stay away as Hurricane Harvey reached Category 3 status.

Lt. Bryan Simons, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said the county would be closing shelters at 4 p.m. -- or whenever they fill up.

"We don't have a large window to get out of your homes and into a shelter," Simons said.

Simons said there is a very short period of time before residents will not be able to evacuate.

But as the storm worsens, law enforcement vehicles won't be able to respond to crises once the wind becomes too dangerous, he said. If needed, the sheriff's office will use armored vehicles to rescue residents, but only in absolute emergency situations.

Updated at 11:45 a.m.

The sound of nervous voices and telephones ringing is audible from through the walls of an empty conference room at the Victoria emergency operations center, where top public officials have gathered to prepare for Hurricane Harvey.

More than 200 people have crowded into the building, which is the temporary home of officials who must make split-second decisions in the midst of the storm.

Lt. Bryan Simons, a spokesman for the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, said officials will be releasing updates twice a day during the storm.

Just two hours earlier, the National Hurricane Center has issued another update on Hurricane Harvey, warning residents of deadly flooding after the storm makes landfall.

Little has changed in the storm forecast since earlier this morning, when emergency officials said the storm could reach a Category 3 hurricane with winds around 130 mph by the time it reaches Texas. The storm is expected to hit the coast late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

In the meantime, Victoria’s government officials are busy working at the county’s emergency operations office. City and county officials say they will update the public about the storm within the next hour.

City spokesman O.C. Garza said there's a rumor circulating among some residents that electricity provider AEP may turn off power, but that isn't true.


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