Flash flood prompts rescues

June 25, 2014

TENSION ON TANKERSLEY: Sunday’s floodwaters rose quickly, reaching the back door of this north Hood County residence just off Temple Hall Highway on Tankersley Road. Nearby resident M.B. Smith said he hadn’t seen that much rain in the area since the 1950s. With up to 9 inches reported in the deluge, several people in the county had to be rescued from rising floodwaters. No injuries were reported.

Hood County officials indicated that damages from Sunday’s flooding are major in some areas, but something else was even more significant – no deaths and no injuries were reported.

“We were very fortunate no one was hurt during this,” Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Wilson said.

Seven homes were destroyed, and four had major damage.

Eighteen residents were rescued from their homes – including four by boat – in Sunchase Meadows northeast of Granbury, Sheriff Roger Deeds said.

In nearby Quail Ridge Acres, two residents were rescued by air boat, and the rest got out with help from first responders and deputies.

Even with all that action, Deeds said “it definitely could have been” much worse.

Wilson said four homes on Sun Meadow Circle in Sunchase Meadows were destroyed by floodwater. Three other homes there sustained major damage.

In Quail Ridge Acres three residences were destroyed, one had major damage and two had minor damage. Four were still inaccessible as of Monday afternoon, Wilson said.

Rainfall measured 9 inches at a residence northeast of Granbury, followed by 7.5 inches at the Granbury Regional Airport. Both Mallard Pointe and nearby Hideaway Bay Estates reported 7 inches.

County Judge Darrell Cockerham has signed a disaster declaration.

Deeds – a former emergency management coordinator here – said the county “hasn’t seen the likes” of this much damage since the flood that struck Lake Granbury Harbor seven years ago.

He noted that county road operation crews were out Monday trying to clear roadways of debris, assessing damage and making necessary repairs.

“We had pretty good flash flooding,” said Ray Fishencord, local disaster coordinator for Red Cross.

“We got over 50 homes affected.”

Fishencord added, “Short of people being injured or killed, this compares with our tornado last year.

“I was absolutely pleased with the attitude everybody had. The first responders did an excellent job.”

Deeds noted that the first 911 call, at 12:55 p.m., was a stranded motorist in the city limits, at the intersection of Second Street and Whitehead Drive. He said police officers were able to rescue an elderly couple from their car.

One woman was rescued by first responders in deCordova when her Plymouth Breeze floated off the roadway on one of the small creek bridges on Cimmaron Trail.

The first home welfare check call came in at 1:10 p.m. for a residence on Blue Quail Court in Quail Ridge Acres, Deeds said.

Wilson said that the flooding resulted in a partial activation of the relatively new Emergency Operations Center, across the street from the Hood County Jail.

“It was the first time (it has been activated) in that kind of situation,” Wilson said. “Everything ran smoothly.”

Wilson also noted that the National Weather Service is predicting the potential of more rain the rest of this week, but not necessarily for Hood County at this point.

ACTON/DECORDOVA

Fall Creek Highway at Cleburne Highway was shut down for almost three hours Sunday afternoon, and rushing floodwaters from Walnut Creek knocked down a section of fence at Acton Cemetery after damaging the guardrail.

Three large storage containers, a Chevrolet pickup, an RV camper and a small trailer floated away from where they had been behind Coker & Co. Custom Homes.

Manager Mary Kay Sager said Coker & Co. owner Brad Coker got a call about the flooding about 5 p.m.

The back half of the office building had standing water that had to be swept out. The force of the water flow also tore down a chain-link fence.

Pecan Plantation Fire Chief Dave Raffa said the shutdown of the Fall Creek Highway/Cleburne Highway intersection occurred early enough that it possibly prevented additional problems with vehicles trying to drive through the rushing water.

Raffa estimated that the water going over the roadway there was traveling 60 to 65 mph.

“I don’t care what kind of vehicle you have, it wouldn’t have made it through this,” Raffa said while he was assisting at that intersection in Acton. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen at this intersection.”

Raffa said Pecan Volunteer Fire Department’s rescue boat was called to help in northern Hood County and rescued one woman from a residence on Blue Quail Court.

A 911 call was received at 3:27 p.m. from Wedgefield Road in Pecan about high water approaching some homes from various ponds, Raffa said.

“Residents were getting concerned because water was rising very rapidly, but there was no rescue required,” he added. “In Pecan … water came into homes. The drainage isn’t sufficient to take that volume of water away.”

Raffa said it appears that the Brazos River Authority “controlled the water level on the dam – and they do a very good job of that.

“So no one down on the river had flooding.”

QUAIL RIDGE ACRES

“Every time we have a big (rain), this is what we have to deal with,” said a 13-year resident of the Quail Ridge Acres subdivision named Corey, who did not want to give his last name.

But, he added, “It ain’t never been this high. I watched some sheds flow across the road.”

Corey was waiting at the low-water crossing on Quail Ridge Court for a chance to drive to his home to assess the damages.

WORKIN’ ON THE RR

Workers connected with the Fort Worth & Western Railroad on Monday were seen repairing multiple spots just off of Temple Hall Highway and on the south side of Waples Road where gravel supporting the tracks had washed away in the rain.

A gravel truck driver not connected with the railroad company said there were spots over about a three-mile stretch in need of repairs.

A call to the Fort Worth & Western’s corporate office seeking more details was not returned by press time.

Bruce Lustenhouwer, who lives in that area and also has his business, Elite Custom Cabinets, just off Temple Hall, said, “Water was flowing across my whole property. It was about a foot over the road.

“A few railroad ties were gone,” he said. “It was pretty incredible.”

Lustenhouwer said he has lived there for about 18 or 19 years.

Asked to rank the flooding in comparison with other storms he has seen there, he stated, “It’s up there. I don’t think the road has ever been closed off. I’ve seen it one other time flow over the road, but that’s been 10 years or so.

“Our rain gauge capped out at five inches.”

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