County releases study of Memorial Day weekend flood, discusses changes

35 home in Bexar County destroyed by flood

SAN ANTONIO – After a thorough study by the county and the San Antonio River Authority, the floods that ravaged parts of the city on May 25 were discussed at length in Tuesday's Bexar County Commissioner's meeting.

The county is in the sixth year of a decade-long, $500 million Flood Control Capital Improvement Program with a goal of addressing critical flooding issues. 

Of the 70 projects, 16 are completed, 11 are under construction, and 43 are in design. 

According to Bexar County Engineer Renee Green, the flood event proved that the projects were working.

"We're proud of how they performed," said Green. "They performed properly."

Still, the Commissioners' Court acknowledged improvement is needed, naming specific flood prone areas such as Espada Road and Barbara Drive. 

As compared to 1998's flood, Green said many of the current problems are unrelated to rainfall.

"It's with the lack of funding," said Green. "I mean, we really do have about $2 billion worth of needs."

The bulls-eye of the storm, which was roughly located over the Olmos Basin, equated, unofficially, to a 250-year-flood according to the study. 

More than 12 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours in the location, which placed some Bexar County residents in harm's way.

According to the county, there were 72 rescue victims during the flood. In addition, 114 homes were affected, and 35 homes were destroyed. Estimates also show around a million dollars worth of damage occurred along the San Antonio River's Mission Reach.

Commissioners' Court approved the $1 million cost at Tuesday's meeting.

As for claims from Espada Road residents that the Mission Reach Project instead increased flood waters around their homes; county reports showed otherwise.

"The project didn't have any related affects to increase the flood plain in that area," said San Antonio River Authority Engineer Russell Persyn.

Meanwhile, Persyn said Bexar County may look into installing a flood warning system of some kind, similar to sirens along the Comal River in New Braunfels, to warn residents of impending flood waters.

For a list of recent stories Justin Horne has done, click here.

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