FREEPORT — Corina Ledesma thought the water would drain before it reached her driveway. Instead, she watched in horror as it flowed into her garage and up the wheelchair ramp leading to the door of her West Ninth Street home.
“Last night was really high,” Ledesma said, standing in her driveway Tuesday morning. “It’s gotten to the roads before but this time it was coming toward the house.”
The remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey dumped 9 inches of rain onto an already soggy Brazosport area Monday night, flooding streets and spilling into some homes. Emergency management officials had to pull several residents from their homes after they grew concerned about the rising waters, City Manager Jeff Pynes said.
“The ground was so saturated it had a multiplying effect on the type of rain you get,” Pynes said. “It was like having 27 inches of rain.”
The water stopped just shy of Ledesma’s door, but that didn’t make the experience any less traumatic.
“I was scared,” she said.
City employees took to the streets Tuesday to identify the homes that took on water and help residents start the recovery effort. Code Enforcement Officer Steve Upton threw on a rain slicker and made sure to hit every home on West Ninth Street, an area prone to flooding.
“We’re checking the areas that have flooded in the past,” Upton said.
Several streets over, Paul Peretz cleared debris carried by the water into his front yard. The water stopped about a foot away from the steps of his home on West Fifth Street.
“I’m surprised it came up this high,” Peretz said, pointing to the water line. “This is the highest corner on the street.”
Peretz’s home sits on the corner of Velasco Boulevard, a main thoroughfare notorious for flooding during heavy rains. However, only a few puddles remained Tuesday morning.
“I know no matter what, the drainage people did their job,” Peretz said. “As long as it’s got a good flow, there’s not a problem.”
The city was primed for such an event. In addition to the five pumps maintained and operated by the Velasco Drainage District, as well as the city’s two pumping stations on Second Street by the railroad bridge and on the north end of Velasco Boulevard, officials brought in three additional diesel-generator pumps to help alleviate potential flooding issues, Pynes said.
Officials placed the pumps on Velasco Boulevard, Second Street and Gulf Boulevard by the Brazosport Medical Center, Pynes said.
“In the grand scheme of things, I think our system did well,” the city manager said. “It was a lifesaver compared to the potential impact. Who would have thought four days after the storm’s landfall west of us, we’d still be having tropica-force winds today?”
Now city officials are keeping a watchful eye on the Brazos River as they help residents with paperwork for federal assistance, Pynes said.
“Freeport is protected by a levee system, but we’ve always got to prepare,” Pynes said. “The next phase is probably just as important as the first.”
Residents with flood damage are asked to contact the city at 979-871-0121.