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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

Rain floods Grapeland, causes property damage
Houston County Courier

By Jenna Duncan
News Reporter

More than eight inches of water fell last weekend in Grapeland, leaving streets flooded, property damage and a downed power line. School was canceled on Monday, and started late Tuesday because of detours to the bus routes. It could have been worse though, Mayor George Pierson said. Before the storm hit, public works employees prepared for the storm by taking measures like cleaning out gutters to make sure the drainage system would be as efficient as possible. “It could have been a disaster, and I’m not bragging on our employees, but we had just completed some street work,” Pierson said. “We did some proactive measures because we knew this was coming and it paid off. I guarantee it paid off.” Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator David Lamb told Pierson that the damage did not qualify to be a declared disaster. Property damage was not widespread, though one home on N. Olive Street flooded with about two feet of water. A handful of residents called about their driveways flooding, and the city helped fill them with dirt and water, Pierson said. “We put a team out on Monday really helping folks with their driveways and making the roadways passable,” he said. “We try to bend over backwards to meet them halfway.” Additionally, Pierson said the overhang at Grapeland State Bank was damaged in the storm, and a few cars drowned out. Water also leaked through some manholes and made it’s way to the sewage plant, Pierson said. “We had about hours hours - I’m telling you, two inches of rain that came down immediately,” he said. “We did some work Sunday, and we caught up Monday morning and started trying to do an assessment of the whole area.” During the heavy rainfall an electrical line was knocked down, which Pierson said is suspected to be because of a heavy limb falling on the line. The transformer was cut off late Saturday night, and the fire department and Encore workers were able to have the line working again by 10 a.m. Sunday. The largest problem area has been a two mile stretch on FM 227 West, heading out of Grapeland on Chestnut Street, which Pierson said he expected to be passable by Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 3). The city is also surveying the damage and seeing where there is standing water, which Pierson said he wanted to eliminate as soon as possible because it attracts mosquitoes and West Nile Virus is still prevalent. Officials are also conducting a case study of the property where a home was flooded to see where the problem lies. “Our drainage is not too bad in Grapeland,” Pierson said. “We’ve got some work to do, but we’ve come a long ways . . . We’re not where we need to be, but we’re really good, especially receiving that much rain in that little of time.” Before the storm, a new curb and gutter was constructed on Post Oak Street that helped with drainage. A street renovation project just began, and because of the storm some of the work was washed out, Pierson said. Angelina Excavating, which was contracted to complete the project, are cleaning up some areas where they were working and should be back to laying asphalt next week. The city is also in the works with the Texas Department of Transportation for a large drainage project. It would drain on South Market Street, and be 500 to 600 yards on both sides and across the railroad tracks to a drainage pond behind Precinct 2. It has been a “slow process” and the city is trying to make the project more affordable after it was quoted at $1.8 million, Pierson said. “We weathered the storm, and I am thankful,” he said. “We didn’t have that many complaints. I think the water washed our streets, cleaned them, and really made Grapeland look a little better.”

 

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