AgriLife Extension can help Texans prepare for, recover from natural disasters

Recent flooding, tornadoes reminder to be aware, prepare   

FLORESVILLE — With tornadoes and floods recently affecting many areas of South Central Texas, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is reminding residents the agency provides publications and other educational materials to help prepare for and recover from natural disasters.

“We’ve had tornado activity in Wilson, Comal, Guadalupe, Medina and Hays counties, and officials have asked people in the Cibolo Creek area and around the Guadalupe and San Marcos Rivers to move to higher ground,” said Dr. Andy Vestal, AgriLife Extension specialist and  emergency management program director, College Station. “Safety officials have asked residents around Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River to evacuate due to rising water, and there has been extensive flooding around Bulverde, Floresville, New Braunfels, Spring Branch, Wimberley, Grey Forest and other towns in South Central Texas.”

Bryan Davis, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Wilson County, said tornadoes and flooding have hit that area hard.

“We had tornado damage at the high school and at several businesses and other facilities in and around Floresville, plus there has been extensive flooding around Interstate 97 from Floresville to Stockton,” Davis said. “The electricity is out in many parts of town, and officials are saying there is likely to be a 20- to 40-foot rise in Cibolo Creek.”

Davis said the recent flooding has also downed a lot of fences and livestock are moving to higher ground.

“Right now, we don’t know if it will be necessary to set up a Livestock Supply Point, but we’re waiting to see if enough livestock have been displaced to make one necessary,” Davis said.

A Livestock Supply Point was recently set up in Bastrop by the city, AgriLife Extension and the Texas Animal Health Commission. This facility provided food and shelter for about 250 animals, including cattle, horses, pigs and chickens, displaced by the wildfire in Bastrop County.

“Comal County has set up its emergency operations center and has begun warning residents along River Road to seek higher ground,” said Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension family and consumer science agent for that county. “The reports are that since last night the county has received between nine and 15 inches of rain, including as much as 12 inches between Canyon Lake and New Braunfels. Most low-water crossings in the county are now closed, and residents who live in flood-prone areas are being asked to carefully monitor the weather and watch and listen for any further warnings.”

The barn at the home of Bading was destroyed by a tornado that hit near Seguin. (Photo courtesy of Russell Badin)

The barn at the home of  Melvin Bading, father-in law of AgriLife Extension family and consumer science agent Charla Bading, Guadalupe County, was destroyed by a tornado that hit the Geronimo community near Seguin. (Photo courtesy of Russell Bading)

The barn at the home of Melvin Bading, father-in-law of Charla Bading, AgriLife Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Guadalupe County, was destroyed by a tornado that hit the community of Geronimo near Seguin Friday.

“The tornado destroyed the barn and completely destroyed some of the other houses in the community,” Charla Bading said. “Right now we’re just finding out what all was damaged and what we can do to clean up and get back to normal.”

Bading said she was also concerned that more rain was expected and there would be additional flooding in the Seguin area.

“The Guadalupe River is already overflowing and people who live on or near the river have been asked to self-evacuate,” she said.

Dr. Joyce Cavanagh, AgriLife Extension specialist in family development and resource management, College Station, said because the rains have been so widespread, the agency also wants to remind all Texans to be alert to the possibility of flash floods and to take proper precautions when driving, especially at low-water crossings.

“Additional rains in already saturated areas could create more runoff, causing flash flooding or overflows that may impair roadways or possibly damage homes and other property,” Vestal said. “We want Texans to remember to respect barricades and not take unnecessary chances at low-water crossings.”  

Information on flooding and flood recovery are available at the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network, Texas EDEN, website http://texashelp.tamu.edu/004-natural/floods.php.

Additional emergency and disaster information can be found in e-book format at http://texashelp.tamu.edu. E-book materials may be downloaded to any mobile device supporting the e-book format, such as phones, tablets and e-readers.

“These disaster preparedness and recovery materials provide information on how individuals, families and businesses can prepare for and recover from a disaster, including flooding,” Cavanagh said. “They contain practical, useful information provided by AgriLife and Texas A&M University System experts, as well as experts from state and federal agencies and from throughout the national land-grant university Extension system.”

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