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New Braunfels police chief gives final word on Comal River

Comal River outfitters open for business

NEW BRAUNFELS, TexasUPDATE 7:20 p.m. Friday: The Comal River has been closed to recreation due to continued runoff from heavy rain, New Braunfels city officials said Friday night.

Officials said as of 7:20 p.m. water is flowing over the top of Tube Chute Dam. The river will be closed for the remainder of Friday.

River conditions will be reevaluated Saturday morning, the city said. 

The Guadalupe River in New Braunfels is currently closed to tubing. Only rafting and kayaking are allowed.

Original article

Tubing season is looking to be back on track, at least for outfitters along the Comal River.

On Friday, the New Braunfels Police Department issued a release stating that the Comal River was once again flowing at a safe level.

New Braunfels Police Chief Tom Wibert has the final word when it comes to whether the river will be open or closed to the public.

"It's an important decision," said Wibert. "It's literally life and death, and so it's one we have to get right. And it falls to me and I'm out there looking at it. These two eyes have to see it before I make that call."

Wibert said some of the things they look for include making sure the river is clear of floating debris and that it's flowing at a safe level.

"The things we look at it when we close the river are high water levels, the tube shoot and sometimes, right after it rains, the water flows right over the dam. And that's not a safe situation," said Wibert.

Because of all the rain this year, Wibert said they've had to close the river more often than normal, but that they try to keep everyone in the loop.

He said the group most concerned is probably the local outfitters.

"We have them in an email group," said Wibert. "And we also do an emergency communicator to them, using our reverse 911 system to contact all the outfitters and let them know."

Comal River outfitters open for business

Recreation on the Comal River has the all-clear this weekend after New Braunfels Police Chief Tom Wibert issued a release on Friday stating the river was flowing at a safe level and is open to the public.

However, with all the rain we've had this year, the river has been shut down quite a few times.

And when the Comal River is shut down, essentially so are businesses along the river, like Comal River Toobs.

"Essentially, the river is kind of a murky brown (Friday)," said Chris Martinez, with Comal River Toobs. "It's usually a transparent view to the bottom, very, very nice river. But when the water levels come up because of flash flooding, the river will actually speed up and it becomes dangerous."

But Friday, the Comal was calm and Comal River Toobs was open for business.

"The river is nice," said Martinez. "It's floatable, calm. It's actually very safe right now because it's not moving too fast."


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