Victoria streets flood during heavy rains (w/video)

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Sept. 24, 2017 at 9:51 p.m.
Updated Sept. 25, 2017 at 1:03 p.m.

Pedestrians walk down a flooded Red River Street while a stalled car sits in the road. Area roads flooded after the downpour Sunday afternoon, stalling vehicles and causing traffic problems.

Pedestrians walk down a flooded Red River Street while a stalled car sits in the road. Area roads flooded after the downpour Sunday afternoon, stalling vehicles and causing traffic problems.   NICOLAS GALINDO/NGALINDO@VICAD.COM for The Victoria Advocate

Savannah Williams' home flooded once again Sunday afternoon when water filled streets and residents' yards in low-lying areas in Victoria from unexpected heavy rain.

Williams, her boyfriend and their four children returned to their home less than a month before after staying with family in Cuero, when power they lost because of Hurricane Harvey was restored. As the family tried to get water out of their home Sunday, the water caused a short in the kitchen, filling their duplex with smoke. The Victoria Fire Department shut off the family's power.

"Two and a half inches came into the living room and kitchen," said Williams, 29. "You get through one obstacle, and then you jump in another one. It's hard when you have kids, and we're still trying to get everything back together from Harvey, and now this."

Williams' family lost about $15,000 of personal belongings when Harvey brought up to 4 inches of water into their home on Oaklawn Street.

"If we can't connect the electricity, all the food that we had just replaced will be gone," she said.

Williams is one of many residents who experienced flooding Sunday. Roads across the city filled with water, reaching waist height in some areas. Police assisted people stuck in their cars stalled in flooded areas while children played in streets with pool toys.

Sunday afternoon, Victoria Police Department officers responded to seven disabled vehicles, five traffic hazards and five motor vehicle accidents, according to the department's website.

At 2:30 p.m., officers responded to North Ben Wilson Street near the University of Houston-Victoria entrance, where a Cadillac and Toyota Camry were stalled in the water, said Officer Matthew Hayles. One woman was escorted to higher ground, and a Victoria Fire Department lifeboat transported two elderly women. No injuries were reported.

The Resendezes' home on Linda Street was completely surrounded by water, and their backyard looked like a lake, said Lydia Resendez, 69.

"I was so scared. Thank God it stopped raining," she said. "If we were trying to get out of here, we would have had to swim. I can't swim. It was so scary. It seemed it came so quick."

Resendez's daughter, Andrea Clay, 46, said her parents live on a cul-de-sac with no drains. Clay grew up in the home and remembers flooding was always a problem.

"It upsets me because, No. 1, there should be some drainage," she said. "As the street slopes downward into their home, there needs to be some sort of drainage."

City spokesman O.C. Garza said the high amount of rain the area received during the weekend left the ground too saturated to hold any water, causing the rain to run into the streets. With Victoria being near the coast, the streets are part of the drainage system, he said.

"My gauge had over 6 inches of rain since Friday." Garza said. "That's a lot of rain for any ground to absorb."

According to the National Weather Service, the Victoria Regional Airport saw 0.17 inches of rain Sunday afternoon, but other areas could have reached more than an inch or inch and a half.

The public works department inspected storm drains after Harvey, but Garza didn't know what kind of condition they were in before the rain Sunday.

"If (residents) see leaves and debris around their drains clogging it, they should move it away from storm drain or street drain," Garza said.

Mayor Paul Polasek said leaves and tree limbs are probably collected in some storm drains, and if residents know about a clogged drain, they should notify the city.

"Some of it can't be helped," he said. "We have a lot of limbs right now. (We're) working real hard to pick them up and the leaves and brush that collected and washed into the drains."

Linda Garcia, 46, was at her mother's house on Odem Street when it began to rain heavily. Garcia said she saw water coming up through the manholes in the street and the drains. Garcia first noticed the flooding because she smelled a sewer odor.

"We just finished trying to get some of the mud out of the edge of the curb so the water could go more into the drain, and as it's going into the drain, it's coming back out through the manholes," she said.

John Rodriguez, 21, and his father and younger brother went into the rain to search for stuck vehicles or anyone who needed help.

The family pulled out about six vehicles by strapping them to their truck and took the occupants to safety.

"Everyone was thankful that we pulled them out," Rodriguez said. "When I help someone else out and see that they're happy ... it makes me feel good on the inside."


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