Comfort residents determined to find ways to fund early flood warning monitor

Flood monitors could save lives, residents say

COMFORT, Texas – A small project to document stories from the 1978 Hill Country flood has evolved into a project to get early flood sensor monitors that could save lives in the event of another flood.

Mike Saur lives about six miles north of Comfort. His grandfather used to keep a meticulous rain diary dating back to the 1800s, in which he used a tree post to measure the stream.

The property sits on the area where the Lazy and Cypress creeks converge.

“This was his own hobby. This was his own doing. This was just his passion. He would share them with all the neighbors and stuff and compare notes back in those days,” Saur said about his grandfather.

The same area is being considered as a possible site for a flood sensor monitor to track creek water data by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) if funding is obtained.

It all started with a small project by Betty Murphy. She wrote a 70-page book documenting the stories of those who survived the flood of 1978. The water rose so quickly that it didn’t give people near the creek enough time to seek higher ground.

More than four decades later, Murphy said nothing’s really been done to seek a better system to warn people in the unincorporated town that straddles two county lines.

Murphy says that may be the reason the need has been overlooked.

“At this point, we are waiting to hear back from the Water Development Board and the USGS, and they’re hopeful that we can have sensors. At one point, they told us we could, and then something happened to somebody’s budget -- government. And so it had to be rethought,” Murphy said.

Proceeds from her book have raised $9,000, and she’s working on a second book, determined to bring a resolution for her town.

“The first thing is sensors, and then we hope to get a special siren. And the special siren would signal tornado, fire or flood,” she said.

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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.