LEON VALLEY, Texas – Conseulo G. Luna has lived in Leon Valley along Huebner Creek since 1975.
"When the flood was here, you could not see the stop sign,” Luna said, referring to the sign that sits in the corner of her front yard.
The floods of 1998 were still fresh in the 82-year-old’s mind, along with all the floods that followed. Over time, she learned that when the rain started, it was time to go.
"I have to make my suitcase just in case they have to come and pick me up,” Luna said.
Still, she does not want to leave the home that she and her husband purchased so many years ago. After all, it was not always that bad.
"If the same amount of water came today that happened in 1998, the water level would likely be much worse, much higher, because of the development that has occurred upstream,” Leon Valley Fire Chief Luis Valdez said.
That is why Leon Valley is taking action now. The community wants all its residents, some of whom live in a floodplain, to be ready for the next flood.
"We have had several rescues just over the last two years,” Valdez said.
In conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Leon Valley will be announcing Saturday that it will become the first city in Texas to be part of the High Water Mark Initiative. The designation will be signified by a plaque at Raymond Rimkus Park, which will be unveiled at special ceremony on Saturday morning.
Near that plaque will be a line showing the high water mark reached in 1998. The floodwaters piled up to just under 6 feet across the park. It is all meant to be a daily reminder for citizens of Leon Valley. The designation also requires the community and its residents to have a detailed flood plan. By doing so, another potential benefit may be offered by FEMA.
"We're also striving to earn a rating that would lower insurance rates, flood insurance rates, so that more people are covered,” Valdez said.
The city of Leon Valley will officially unveil the plaque at 9 a.m. Saturday. City officials will be joined by FEMA for the event and members of the community are encouraged to attend.