Along the South Texas Coastal Bend, heavy rains this week have brought major flooding, and concerns about drinking water supplies to cities including Corpus Christi, Port Aransas and Rockport. Meteorologists say some parts of the Coastal Bend may have seen up to a foot of rain since Wednesday.
Rockport Mayor Pat Rios told Texas Standard that major entrances and exits to his city are flooded, making it difficult for people to leave. Rising waters have also hidden potholes and sinkholes from the view of drivers, making the roadways in deep water areas treacherous. Drivers who encounter them have gotten stuck.
“Our first responders out there are trying to pull people out, but we’re asking people to stay home, because there’s no point in endangering themselves or first responders that are out there trying to help them,” Rios said.
First responders are also working to rescue people who are stuck in their homes and need to get out. Rios says state resources have been deployed, including boats that are being used for rescues.
During Hurricane Harvey, wind did the most significant damage in Rockport. The current rains are primarily causing flooding. Some residents, and the city itself, are still repairing damage caused by the hurricane. Rios says he’s watching how flood waters impact the ongoing rebuilding of the Key Allegro Bridge, which is the only access to an island containing 800 homes.
“We’re hoping that this influx of the water into the bay doesn’t damage the structure of that bridge,” Rios said. “We’ll have divers in the water next week, just to check the integrity of that bridge.”
Rios says, so far, Rockport hasn’t lost access to safe drinking water, and sewer systems aren’t severely affected.
“The wastewater treatment plant has been affected some, but that’s still working,” he said.