After flooding, hail, tornado, neighbors now watching Hurricane Harvey developments

2 near North Side neighborhoods hit hard in recent years

SAN ANTONIO – Neighbors living just south of Oblate Drive, between McCullough Avenue and Jones-Maltsberger Road, seem to have had more than their share of severe weather: a flood in 2013, a hailstorm in 2016 and a tornado in 2017.

All of them were in District 1 represented by City Councilman Robert Trevino.

Anyone who believes the weather is not an issue for the city or for them should look at what happened to the area, Trevino said.

Even so, Lorenzo and Nancy Soto who lost nearly everything when the tornado hit their home said they’re not worried.

“We’re just hoping for the best,” Nancy Soto said. “Don’t think it can be any worse than what happened in February.”

“You know it’s coming,” Lorenzo Soto said about Hurricane Harvey.

He said when the tornado struck, “We didn’t know. We thought it was just rain.”

Maria Soto, who isn’t related to the Soto couple, said her home was partially flooded in 2013 when torrential rains proved too much for an old drainage ditch. She said she’s very worried about the heavy rains that Harvey may produce.

“Whenever I see the street completely full of water, that means I have to leave,” she said.

The city of San Antonio and Bexar County recently began work on the $5 million Barbara Drive project to replace the drainage ditch that flooded out her neighbors on either side of it. They were bought out to make way for the wider, shallower drainage ditch that will be part of a planned green space for the neighborhood.

Large trucks were hauling and spreading dirt Thursday, which Maria Soto worries could be washed away by Harvey.

“It’ll be a big mess,” she said. She’s hopeful that in the long run, the project will help the flood-prone area which borders the Olmos Basin Golf Course.

Having gone through what they did, including a hailstorm between the flood and the tornado, those victims have advice to Harvey’s potential victims, beginning with don’t panic.

“Whatever happens, just take it day by day. Have a lot of patience,” Nancy Soto said. “It’s a process.”

For her and her husband, it has been at least six months. They’re still living in a hotel while work continues on their damaged home.

“There’s an assumption if you have insurance, don’t worry. They’re going to take care of it,” Soto said. “Yes, they do to an extent.”

She said emotionally it can be hard, but “try not to get discouraged.” Her husband said patience and prayer have helped them.

“Pray because it helps. Just pray because we feel relief,” Maria Soto said.

She said keeping calm helps you think clearly enough to make the right decisions.

Trevino said whatever happens, “The city is here to help.”

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