Bastrop County asking for state resources after Halloween flood

Bastrop County is asking for state resources in order to recover from major flood damage over the Halloween weekend. The county signed it's third disaster declaration of the year on Friday.

It's been one disaster after another for Bastrop residents. There were 64 homes lost during the Hidden Pines fire. Now authorities are estimating another 50 homes with significant damage because of Friday's flooding. 

The Jones family came back to a flooded home on Saturday. Cell phone video given to FOX 7 shows the impact. The water in their home rose about three feet, something they say hasn't happened in about 25 years.

"Yeah, it was probably around this high," said Al Jones, a flood victim.

He said the past few weeks have been exhausting, the Hidden Pines wildfire and now this.

"If you live here, and you're living on the river, you expect some of this to happen. You can't escape all of it. Now the fires, that's a little more worrisome to me then the water is because I've already gone through the water before. In a fire, how do you get back from that? The water you clean up and you go on," said Jones.

Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape signed a local disaster declaration for Bastrop County on Friday, October 30th. They had more than 100 evacuations and around 100 water rescues.

"There were about a half-dozen helicopter rescues, where we had to pluck people off the roofs of their cars or off the tops of their houses. Most of our rescues were where people's homes were isolated because of a river flowing across the land. We had to bring them out of their homes through the flood and bring them to high ground and put them up over night," said Judge Paul Pape, Bastrop County.

The Halloween flood didn't come without problems. Now the county is working to get them fixed.

"The information we were getting was too little and too late. The river was rising much faster than the flood gauges indicated. The information we were getting about the crest of the river was inaccurate. We went to bed Friday night thinking the river was going to crest at maybe 29 feet. We woke up in the morning to the information that it was going to crest at about 33 feet," said Judge Pape.

That was not the case. The Colorado River at Bastrop crested at 36 feet on Saturday, five feet higher than the Memorial Day floods. Bastrop county is now asking the LCRA to partner with them in putting up more flood gauge sites.

"We were behind the curve when trying to plan our evacuations and get people and property out of harms way. We've got to do better than that," said Judge Pape.

In the meantime, the Jones family is cleaning up. They are hoping next time things aren't as bad.

"Pulling carpet, taking sheet rock out. Taking all of the heavy stuff out, washing it off and trying to find a dry spot for it to come back because it's going to start raining again," said Jones.

When it comes to the flood, a damage assessment is being done right now. As for the Hidden Pines wildfire, Bastrop County has already allocated $600,000 of tax funds for cleanup. Bluebonnet Electric has already spent about $3 million in restoring service to residents.

The county estimates around $10 million of public funds and utility funds will have to be spent. Many of the homes were not insured, so the county will have to assess how much that will be. They expect it to be significant.

Bastrop County officials will be asking that Governor Greg Abbott send their request up to Washington for FEMA assistance in this flood.
 

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