Streets throughout El Campo became streams Wednesday as more than six inches of rain fell upon the city in just a matter of hours, but no injuries or flooded homes were reported, according to officials.
As a tropical low made its way over Mexican soil during the dark hours of Wednesday morning, it sent waves of moisture across the Texas Gulf Coast. About 2.2 inches fell before 5 a.m. Wednesday with another pounding 4.11 inches between then and 11 a.m.
Another wave slammed the city Thursday evening, bringing the rainfall tally this week to 8.12 inches in El Campo, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority gauge on the hospital grounds.
“We received reports of some places that flooded that had never flooded before,” El Campo Emergency Management Director Gary Williamson told the Leader-News. “The problem was that the system couldn’t keep up.”
The west end of El Campo was especially hard hit with virtually all streets under water.
“It flooded pretty good. At the Palacios Street bridge the water went over the bridge. That’s the first time it flooded.”
At Fourth and Tegner street, Wednesday morning former El Campo City Councilman Bobby Perez brought his pickup truck to a halt about 20 feet from the intersection and set staring out at the water.
“I was going to check on the church (St. Robert’s Catholic), but I’m not going to be able to get there,” he said, pointing to a person trying to wade to their vehicle just north of the intersection. “The water’s too deep,” he said.
He had heard reports of people in the area with water in utility rooms, but not their houses.
The city, Williamson said, has not received any reports.
“If people did get water in their homes they need to report it to us. We will report it to the Wharton County Recovery Team,” he said.
Those with water in their homes should call Williamson or Joan Rawlinson at the Public Safety Headquarters 979-543-5311.
Five cars flooded out in areas spread throughout the city, Williamson said, in each case trying to make it through the flood waters and misjudging the height.
Most roads were not barricaded – there were simply too many flooded to do so, he said.
“But where we did get barricades were at the (Tres Palacios) bridge. We didn’t want someone to misjudge where the bridge was and go off into the creek,” he said.
Especially heavy flooding was reported on West Fifth, West Second and Marion streets.
All has now drained.
“Now all we have to worry about is heat – heat and mosquitoes,” Williamson said.
All residents should dump any standing water as quickly as possible to keep possible mosquito breeding grounds to a minimum.
The city will begin spraying as soon as feasible, he said.
This week’s rain tally for the City of Wharton was 13.17 inches while Midfield received 15.07 inches and Bay City 10.41 inches.
The Tres Palacios River at Midfield peaked at 31.58 feet Wednesday, 7.58 above flood stage.
The San Bernard River at Boling was expected to peak at 39.5 feet around noon Friday, 21.2 feet above flood stage and just 4 feet from the level experienced after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The Colorado River at Wharton, however, peaked Wednesday at 18.42 feet, well below the 20-foot minor flood stage.