First Responders Prepare For Possible Flash Flooding In The Area

BELL COUNTY (May 27, 2014) City officials and first responders in Bell County were preparing Tuesday for possible flash floods as another round of storms pushed into the area.

(Photo by Rachel Cox)

The Killeen Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team had a boat on standby Tuesday in case it was needed for a water rescue.

In the past the team has had to rescue stranded drivers from the low water crossings in Harker Heights at Veterans Memorial Boulevard and FM 3219.

Officials were urging residents to keep an eye out for standing water on highway feeder roads and in construction zones.

"When there's major construction going on the drainage is not going to always work the way it's designed to work simply because they've got it blocked off or they haven't put the drainage in for a particular location so those are the kind of areas that people need to keep an eye out for," Killeen Fire Chief J.D. Gardner said.

The City of Belton was monitoring Nolan Creek throughout the day and officials said they would continue to do so through the night because the waterway has flooded in the past.

Within the past year sensors have been placed upstream on the creek to give officials an early warning when the water starts to rise.

Tuesday afternoon when the showers let up briefly the water was one foot above normal behind City Hall.

"If it was up to nine feet and it was continuing to rain really hard then we'd start looking at closing roads or warning the public," Belton Public Information Officer Paul Romer said.

There’s good reason for the concern.

On May 24, 2007, flooding in Killeen claimed the lives of a man and two young children who were trapped inside a car that was swept off a road by floodwaters.

Another man died when he was swept away while trying to move a friend’s car out of a flooded parking lot.

In September 2010, heavy rain from Tropical Storm Hermine caused widespread flooding across Bell County and a 19-year-old woman died when her car was swept off a road in Killeen.

The floodwaters breached a levee and flooded mobile home park in Nolanville, leaving some residents stranded.

Dozens of high-water rescues were conducted in the area of Central Avenue and Interstate 35 in Belton, and four downtown businesses and 35 homes were damaged in Salado after Salado Creek rose 10 feet in 15 minutes.