AFD encouraging homeowners to have a plan for flood

Last week's weather kept the Austin Fire Department busy.  And with the threat of major rainfall looming, they're gearing up again.

"We're ready and we have our procedures in place to push forward," said AFD Division Chief Palmer Buck.

Buck says if your neighborhood is prone to flooding, have an evacuation plan.  Buck says one of his boat crews told him this story after last week's storms:

"They picked a guy off of a tree, he goes 'Yeah that's the same tree I was in in October' -- so we need a better plan than the tree you're going to hang in when the water's flowing," Buck said.

Many of the homes in the Onion Creek area have been torn down and it's returning back to nature.

Susan Willard is one of the homeowners still there -- and she wants to stay there.

"A lot of the neighbors after this last Halloween flood last year, that was it .  That was enough for them," Willard said.

Willard, whose home flooded during the 2013 Halloween flood wasn't flooded during the 2015 Halloween flood.  She says she's a little uneasy about this round of storms but if it does get bad, her family will shelter in place.

"For me and my family it is more dangerous for us to get in the car, try to leave the neighborhood if it's starting to flood than it is for us to shelter in place.  People that live just a little bit south of us and that's not even a half a block away, they may have a different story.  And if they're really concerned about it, I would encourage them to leave before the rain starts," Willard said.

Buck says thanks to technology they do have some predictive ability.

"Recently we've gotten models that based on flow rate we'll know if Onion Creek is at 34 feet, these houses might be underwater at 36 feet, these houses underwater and we're able to push the appropriate resources forward," Buck said.

Buck says they also establish divisions in flood-prone areas.

"Put a commander officer in charge of an area and they get some resources and they'll go and take care of calls in their area," Buck said.

Willard is thankful for first responders like the Fire Department.

"They were down here and they were telling people 'We're going to evacuate you, we're going to evacuate you, you have about an hour before it's going to be mandatory' and that was helpful," Willard said.

Read Are you prepared for severe weather?