Waters drop around Austin, clean-up begins

Published 3:36 pm Sunday, June 23, 2024

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As area rivers began receding early Sunday morning and throughout the day, assessments were finally being made by those directly affected by flooding over the weekend.

Jane Crowley, owner of Stuttgart Tan & Travel, was one of those who was finally able to get back into her business Sunday to begin clean-up after flood waters completely surrounded the business with no sandbags in place.

“We had three feet on the main floor and everything in the basement is floating,” Crowley said Sunday afternoon. “We had no warning.”

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While people were able to begin inserting sandbags around structures ahead of advancing waters later in the afternoon Saturday, Crowley had no such luxury. Water from the Cedar River was already into the intersection of Oakland Ave. East and Fourth Street Saturday morning and continued to quickly rise throughout the day.

Austin Daily Herald graphic

Across the street, the water was also threatening the Hardy Geranium as well as the near-by Salvation Army where volunteers were moving goods from the main building to higher ground in another part of the building.

Across from the Salvation Army, volunteers there put sandbags at key points around El Parral where the Cedar was encroaching. The turbulent waters had already filled the Riverside Arena parking lot at the point.

Elsewhere, some homes were also filling precautionary sandbags with some homeowners installing them around homes as waters flowed across Lions Park. Further east on Oakland Place SE sand barriers were also placed around Hoot and Ole’s Tavern and Huffman Flooring Design Center.

Crowley and volunteers were back to begin the cleaning Sunday — volunteers she said that were going back and forth from Stuttgart’s to her home along Dobbins Creek, which was also threatened by that river’s swelling.

She said that they placed sandbags on the levy to further guard against the rising water.

“Good people saved me,” she said.

As of 1 p.m, the Cedar’s level in Austin was 17.1 feet and dropping. Its other two monitoring locations — one near Lansing and other just to the south of Austin — reflected dropping water levels as well and at around that same time were just over 18 and 16 feet respectively.

Turtle Creek was just under 12 feet and Dobbins Creek was just under 10 feet.

Several large areas of Austin were still under water as of around 3 p.m. Sunday, and several roads were still blocked off, preventing people from venturing closer to flood waters in vehicles.

One of those areas still submerged was Bandshell Park and Lafayette Park with Bandshell being flooded clear up to the base of Skinner’s Hill. Water there had also threatened homes along Main Street heading north.

The Cedar is expected to dip below flood stage in Austin this evening, while the Turtle will dip below flood levels in the early morning hours of Monday.

A National Weather Service flood warning remains in effect until 5:30 a.m. Monday.

Aside from a small chance of storms Monday night and a chance Thursday into Friday night, the rest of the week expects to be sunny and warm. A high temperature of 86 beneath mostly sunny skies is expected Monday.