Calhoun County to begin aerial mosquito spraying (w/video)

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Aug. 25, 2017 at 1:31 p.m.
Updated Sept. 3, 2017 at 12:58 a.m.

Boats washed up on shore at the Bayfront Pavilion Park after Hurricane Harvey hit Port Lavaca.

Boats washed up on shore at the Bayfront Pavilion Park after Hurricane Harvey hit Port Lavaca.   Ana Ramirez/aramirez@vicad.com for The Victoria Advocate

This is a page with updates about how Hurricane Harvey has affected Calhoun County.

Updated at 10 a.m. Sunday

Calhoun County will begin aerial spraying for mosquito control at noon, Sept. 3, in the most populated areas of the county.

updated at 4:16 p.m. Friday

Those served by the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority Calhoun County Rural Water Supply no longer have to boil their water. The entity provided the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with laboratory tests that indicate that, Spokeswoman LaMarriol Smith wrote via email.

The Port O'Connor Improvement District, which serves 1,250 people, is still under a boil water notice, according to a TCEQ list last updated on Thursday.

Updated at 11 a.m. Friday

Residents of Port Lavaca are no longer required to boil their water before drinking it.

The city provided the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with testing results that show it has taken the necessary steps to restore adequate pressure, disinfectant levels and or bacteriological quality.

The TCEQ required the city of Port Lavaca to issue a boil water notice on Sunday after its water system lost pressure due to Hurricane Harvey.

Those with questions about this process should contact Director of Public Works Oscar Pena at 361-220-0832. TCEQ may also be reached at 512-239-4691.

Updated at 8:30 a.m. Thursday

Calhoun County continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey even though much of it is without power.

According an American Electric Power update from Wednesday evening, 13,500 customers in Port Lavaca were without power and power is expected to be restored by Friday.

The city of Port Lavaca is asking residents to place brush on the curb of their property for crews to pick up. It's also asking people to put out their garbage, but the routes will depend on what the crew can access.

Some businesses are reopening, including TDECU, located at 2318 W. Main St., and Walmart, located at 400 Tiney Browning Boulevard.

The latter business opened at 7 a.m. and will remain open as long as they have employees to work, according to the city of Port Lavaca.

The National Guard is also handing out water, ice and MREs at the Calhoun County HS parking lot, located at 201 Sandcrab Boulevard.

Additionally, donations are being accepted at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, located at 814 N. San Antonio St.

"I haven't been out there, but they are accepting a medley of things," a spokeswoman at the Calhoun County Emergency Management Office said.

Later, she added the county needed cleaning supplies.

Additionally, donations are being accepted at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, located at 814 N. San Antonio St.

And the Seadrift Police Department was trying to get its residents treatment for minor injuries and their prescriptions and immunizations.

County Sheriff Bobbie Vickery said there is a county-wide curfew from dusk til dawn.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday

There are efforts underway to serve Calhoun County residents a free warm meal.

The First Baptist Church in Seadrift, 302 Dallas Avenue, will be serving turkey spaghetti at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The church has air conditioning, a place to charge your devices and warm showers.

The church will also be delivering plates to people that are home bound, according to the Seadrift Volunteer Fire Department.

Seadrift Police Chief Leonard Bermea also wrote on Facebook that the Salvation Army is serving hot meals at the Civic Center. There, dog, horse and cattle food as well as baby food and formula are available.

The city of Point Comfort; meanwhile, which is still without power, plans to cook its residents a hot meal and one of its officer will drive around with a loud speaker announcing when it is ready.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. Tuesday

Walgreens, 1302 N. Virginia St., is open until 5 p.m. It is accepting debit and credit cards.

State Farm Insurance, 422 N. Virginia St., also has agents at its office, according to the Calhoun County Emergency Management Office.

The county landfill and recycling center, 900 Landfill Road, is open, accepting wood and metal for free. Residents may also bring household garbage, but there will be a normal charge for that.

Port Lavaca Police Chief Colin Rangnow wrote on the department's Facebook that water has been restored to the region, but residents must boil it before consuming it. He wrote the water will have a strong odor of chlorine.

"We have increased patrols at night and are urging people to remain inside at night. If you see something suspicious, please report it immediately. Call 911, but only for emergencies. Do not call 911 to ask for information," Rangnow wrote.

Updated at 11:37 a.m. Tuesday

H-E-B in Port Lavaca is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The store, located at 101 Calhoun Plaza, cannot accept debit or credit cars. It can accept Lonestar cards, checks and cash, according to the Calhoun County Office of Emergency Management.

H-E-B's pharmacy cannot fill new prescriptions; however, if residents had a prescription ready to be picked up before the story, they can pick it up now.

H-E-B is also providing free water. There is a limit of two units of water per person.

There is still no ice or gas available.

Additionally, the Port Lavaca Police Department, 201 N. Colorado St., has opened its doors for people wanting to charge their cellphones and drink coffee in the lobby. The department asks residents to bring their own cups and filters.

The Port Lavaca Fire Department; meanwhile, received bottles of water from the Runge Fire Department and was thankful.

Updated at 7:45 p.m. Monday

Bottled water is available at the Calhoun High School parking lot, 201 Sandcrab Boulevard, as long as supplies last, according to the Calhoun County Office of Emergency Management statement from about 6 p.m. Monday.

Water will be handed out starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Walmart parking lot for as while supplies last. Walmart is located at 400 Tiney Browning Boulevard.

The Calhoun County Office of Emergency Management had its power restored Monday afternoon by generator. Officials continue to remind evacuees wanting to return that there is no water, electricity, gasoline or stores open to sell food and other supplies in Port Lavaca. There is also no shelter.

Updated at 2:26 p.m. Monday

Ace Hardware, 301 Calhoun Plaza, is open. It is only accepting cash, according to Port Lavaca Police Chief Colin Rangnow.

Rangnow wrote on the city's Facebook page that employees have also returned to H-E-B and Walmart.

Officials were unable to attend the National Weather Service briefing Monday because the Calhoun County Courthouse, 211 S. Ann St., lost power again. They are searching for a generator, he said.

"The main concern now is flooding in outer areas and becoming locked in. Another concern is if all the resources being directed to Houston. Time will tell," Rangnow wrote.

Here is his full post:

Updated at 11:56 a.m. Monday

The Port Lavaca Police Department's phone lines are down, as are the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office's. 911 is also down, but is being redirected to Victoria County. Officials ask that residents not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. Sunday

Some residents in Calhoun County have had their water service restored, but they should boil it before using it, officials say.

The county is still without power, and it is not expected to be restored until at least Wednesday.

Although a curfew is in effect, enforcement has been lax.

The Port Lavaca Police Department wrote on its Facebook page they will not enforce it until nighttime.

"We understand you need to use the daylight hours to get things done and get possessions," the department wrote.

Still, the Calhoun County Sheriff Bobbie Vickery asked that people stay in their homes. This helps law enforcement spot looters and do welfare checks, he said.

When the county evacuated, Vickery had to evacuate the county jail, too.

"But we do have cells set aside for people we have no choice to arrest," Vickery said, adding looting has not been a problem and no one has been arrested for it.

He also asked that evacuees wait to return home.

"The more people we get coming in, the harder it's going to be for us to get things back in order," he said.

Still, US 87 is expected to open tomorrow.

As of Sunday night, it was closed from Lake Placedo Road to Farm-to-Market Road 2433 as was Farm-to-Market Road 1679.

The Texas Department of Transportation Yoakum District said US 87 was clear of debris, but there was still water on the road.

The water is across both lanes going north and on the inside lane going south.

Additionally, Calhoun County ISD tentatively scheduled the first day of school to be Sept. 6 with a two hour delayed start.

The district said clean up would start on Monday and staff should return on 8 a.m. Sept. 5.

The district said if the weather or other factors do not permit those start times, they would notify everyone by Sept. 4.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. Sunday

Calhoun County ISD Superintendent James Cowley completed an initial assessment of district facilities post Hurricane Harvey. He said the Seadrift School has the most significant damage. Parts of its roof have been peeled off and there is standing water inside. He provided the following summary:

Maintenance building: damage to a widow.

Hope High School: roofs and outside of building appear fine; did not yet evaluate inside classrooms.

HJM Elementary: some under door water seepage; other water infiltration detected from locations that have previously leaked during severe rain; two covers blown off outside machinery; does not appear to have significant damage, at least as detected during initial assessment.

Port O’Connor: Under door water seepage detected in cafeteria and four front classrooms; some water through old windows in classroom, principal office and nurse office; water leaks in a couple of restrooms; damage to a window; small portion of the awning leading to auditorium blown off, gym has small water spot under one vent; water leak in auditorium ceiling.

JR Elementary: Inside of the building not yet inspected, but from outside, the roof looked fine; large portion of front fence blown down, shingles blown off a portable building with likely water leaks, some window damage, outer frame of marquee disconnected.

Transportation Building: Several carports have been destroyed; roof appears fine; did not yet inspect inside the building.

Calhoun High School: AC units and roof on main building appear fine; did not yet inspect inside of the main building; Gym 1 sign blown off and one louver is gone; Gym 2 has water infiltration from under doors, through windows and louvers, in the dressing rooms and on the gym floor; Vocational building has water damage through roof leaks and water seepage from under the doors; Special Education classrooms have ceiling leaks; Freshman building appears fine; Sandies scoreboard destroyed; some tennis screens are torn; baseball wind screens destroyed, baseball overhead backstop torn.

Travis Middle School: The portable building next to the home economics room lost shingles and is likely leaking; awning leading from shop classrooms to gym is destroyed; several windows in Gym 1 blown out; portion of Gym 2’s roof blown off; Gym 2’s door is damaged and has water infiltration; water standing in hallway next to new building, water in parts of band hall; library has metal blown off and water is in two light fixtures and in portions of the ceiling; does not appear that library books were damaged; multiple ceiling leaks in auditorium; ceiling in restrooms next to auditorium collapsed; server room appears secure with no water in the room; water has entered new building construction through roof and window openings, despite efforts to block and secure the openings.

Seadrift School: The majority of the damage in our district occurred at the Seadrift campus. A palm tree is laying on the roof close to the front door; water seepage in one office that appears to be coming in though the wall from the water standing outside; marque has slight damage; water seepage though doors and standing in hallways and front entrance; water seepage though doors in cafeteria; two portable buildings missing shingles and are leaking; band hall roof starting to peel off; large playground awning and braces have been destroyed; small playground awning is blown off; several roads are impassable. The Seadrift School's scoreboard has been destroyed as well.

Updated at 10:52 a.m. Sunday

Port Lavaca police checked on at least 49 people who did not evacuate Hurricane Harvey. They were not able to make contact with 18 and at least one address that they were asked to check had no structure there.

"If you have already spoken with your loved one or have had a welfare check done please refrain from requesting another welfare check or property check," the department wrote on its Facebook page.

Officers also listed what damage they found within the city limits.

Updated at 7:14 p.m. Saturday

Seadrift residents are now allowed back into Seadrift, Mayor Elmer DeForest said Saturday night.

"I would still caution against residents returning for a few days," Mayor DeForest said.

He warns the city is still without water, power, internet or phones. City officials cannot speak for the road blocks on the highways. Debris is still in the roads.

The city is under a sunset to sunrise curfew.

Residents do not need to show identification to get back into the city.

The mayor said he does not know how many homes were damaged or about any injuries.

There are reports of damage to commercial buildings, the pier is submerged and the harbor is damage.

Deforest, who was out of town for work when the storm began, said Saturday he was finally able to connect with his wife.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. Saturday

Calhoun County officials are urging those who sought shelter from Hurricane Harvey not attempt to return to their homes.

Flooding and downed power lines make the roads dangerous and unpredictable, officials said at a meeting Saturday. Highway 87 at the county line was submerged in about 2 feet of water.

Port Lavaca police were out assessing damage Saturday after the storm started to subside.

Police reported downed trees and poles in the city. Some trees had fallen onto homes, and the roof of the Executive Inn had been blown off.

Officials with Calhoun County EMS reported that no one had called for assistance or rescue during the storm.

Police were also citing people who were in violation of the city's curfew.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Saturday

Seadrift Mayor Elmer DeForest urged all to stay away from his small, devastated town.

He reported the town of 1,392 people has numerous power poles down, hundreds of trees down and live wires hanging low to the ground.

A storm surge of 8 to 10 feet remained as well. "More than half of our streets are impassable," DeForest said.

Earlier Saturday, DeForest issued an order barring all but first responders from entering the town. He said he hopes county and state emergency workers would be able to respond later today.

Seadrift police and public works director have been unable to get out to check on the conditions of those who stayed during Hurricane Harvey, he said.

The town's backup generator for its treatment plant also has failed, meaning "we just lost our water, too."

DeForest, who was out of town for work, said he received all of this information from police and the public works director there.

Officials have no estimate yet for how many of the town's 800-900 homes were damaged or destroyed, he said. Because phone service is mostly down, the mayor has been unable to reach his wife in Seadrift, but he has been told "at least the house is intact."

Updated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday

An emergency order prohibiting people from entering or passing through Seadrift was put into effect at 4:45 a.m. by Elmer DeForest, mayor of the town of Seadrift , according to social media posts.

A State of Emergency and Mandatory Evacuation was issued Thursday. A State of Disaster and a curfew were issued Friday.

“This Emergency Order prohibiting entry into the City or through the City shall be for a period of up to seven days or until rescinded by me, whichever is earlier. Should this EMERGENCY ORDER, restricting entry of any individuals into and through the City, automatically expire at the end of seven days I can initiate a new EMERGENCY ORDER, at my discretion, for the same reasons and time length of seven days, AFTER initiating a new DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY.”

“This Emergency Order does NOT apply to Emergency Response Personnel, DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONNEL, FIRST RESPONDERS, law enforcement, Critical Personnel or ANY Key Personnel of the city WHO SHALL BE ALLOWED ENTRY AND EXIT AND RE-ENTRY AS NEEDED.”

Here is the link to the posr.

Updated at 9:10 a.m. Saturday

Calhoun County officials report the Precinct 4 barn is gone.

According to a volunteer firefighter, State Highway 35 is about to be underwater near the Port Lavaca Auto Group dealership. Boats have come off at city harbor and are at 400 Main Street.

Big trees uprooted at Main Street in Seadrift, where five electricity poles are down with live wire across the street, according to two Port Lavaca police officers who were there.

Update at 6:57 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25: Calhoun County law enforcement stopped a vehicle matching the description of one used in an attempted burglary.

There have been attempted burglaries at a bank and homes in an established neighborhood.

Neither Port Lavaca Police Chief Colin Rangnow nor Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow would say where exactly the attempted burglaries occurred.

Whitlow commended local law enforcement's response during the natural disaster.

"You normally have a skeleton crew," Whitlow said. "People who evacuated can be proud of their law enforcement and the way they work together."

Whitlow has been mayor for 11 years and grown up on the Texas coast, but for many of the Port Lavaca police officers, this is their first time in a hurricane, and they didn't have long to prepare for it. Some brought their pets to the station. Some grilled chicken as the first bands of the hurricane reached Port Lavaca.

Whitlow recalled that for Hurricane Ike, the city was able to evacuate about 180 people who could not afford to do so. This time, they evacuated about 50 people and their pets to a shelter in New Braunsfels.

"It was hard getting the word out this time," Whitlow said. "We wish we could've gotten more out."

Neither the Calhoun County Emergency Management Office nor the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office know the number of people who did not evacuate.

Rangnow said the police department got the names, addresses and next of kin for between 50 and 60 people who decided to stay.

They are hoping no one will die but are prepared for that to happen.

Whitlow said the city is working to shed the perception that Port Lavaca is a poor fishing town and has made upgrades to its pier and other amenities throughout the years. He said the hurricane won't stall that progress.

"The hurricane will affect what we built around here, but our assets are the beautiful estuary bay and birds, and that's what's we need to market," Whitlow said.

By about 6 p.m., the Bayfront Peninsula Park was beginning to flood.

Update at 5:05 p.m. Friday

Update 3:17 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25: The power went out at city hall, 202 N. Virginia St. A generator then kicked on. It is not clear if the power outage is city wide. The water is still on.

Updated 2:10 p.m. Friday

Port Lavaca Police Chief Colin Rangnow checked on lifelong residents who didn't heed the order to evacuate Friday.

A family of six talked, drank and laughed as Hurricane Harvey brewed in the Gulf.

When asked why they were staying, Jerry "Hippie" Huggans said, jokingly, "Because I still have a bottle of Crown Royal left!"

Jason January said their home, which is near Bayfront Peninsula Park, is fortified with rebar and cement drilled 6 feet into the ground.

The family also had 100 gallons of water and a boat.

"We'll write our social security number on our arm," January said, jokingly, adding he's always wanted to boat down state Highway 35.

Sylvia January said she's only fled a hurricane once.

"A bunch of us girls went to Dollar Tree yesterday and said, 'Hey, if it's our time to go, it's God's will, you know. We can't control life. We can't control God. We can't control anybody..."

Rangnow also had to stop residents from getting too close to the water.

Ronnie Hamrick drove his truck to Bayfront Peninsula Park, but was forced to turn around. A member of the San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper, Hamrick has been collecting pellets along the coast of Lavaca Bay to document what he says is pollution coming from Formosa, a petrochemical plant nearby.

The electricity and water are expected to go out.

Original post:

Port Lavaca police continued to drive around Friday, warning residents that Hurricane Harvey will be catastrophic.

Eighteen officers and six dispatchers are working. Chief Colin Rangnow said they will not be able to respond to emergencies once the winds reach 40 mph.

He expects Harvey to make landfall Friday night or early Saturday between Corpus Christi or Aransas Pass as a category 3.

He said it is expected to rain anywhere between 15 and 35 inches with a storm surge between 6 and 12 feet.

"It's going to be long and drawn out," Rangnow said, "Then, after that, what is the city going to look like?"


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