SANTA ROSA — City crews pumped water from flooded streets yesterday, as neighbors piled sandbags to try to keep floodwaters from rushing into their homes.
In one of Cameron County’s hardest-hit areas, about 14 inches of rain fell during a four-hour period last night.
“We have a lot of damage to property — water damage to homes,” City Manager Jared Hockema said at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday at City Hall, where floodwaters damaged electronic equipment.
By afternoon, some streets remained flooded.
“Every street had water and some were impassable and some still are,” Hockema said. “It’s pretty severe.”
Crews were handing out sandbags at the city’s public works department, he said.
Meanwhile, residents were taking shelter at Elma Barrera Elementary School.
Hockema asked residents to avoid the streets.
“We’re asking people to avoid unnecessary trips, and if they do drive, go slow so as to avoid making waves that push water into homes,” he said.
In nearby Combes, officials were assessing damage to homes in the Kayla Lane neighborhood and on the city’s north side, Police Chief Patrick Quill said at about 3 p.m. yesterday.
“We have two neighborhoods which received a significant amount of water, up to and into homes,” Quill said.
Quill said floodwaters had engulfed two or three cars.
At about 9:30 a.m., crews rescued an elderly woman who was standing on a dry spot surrounded by floodwaters after she drove her car into a ditch, Quill said.
“We’ve got quite a bit of water receding,” he said. “Most of the streets are passable.”
La Feria Police Chief Cesar Diaz reported several rescues throughout the day with residents pulled from vehicles and homes.
A shelter has also been opened at the dome located on Pancho Maples Drive.
“We have about 30 people on location,” Diaz said. “The Cameron County Emergency Management Team has been helping us, as well as the fire station, to be able to evacuate as many people as possible.”
According to Diaz no major injuries were reported.
Primera Chief of Police Manuel Trevino advised people to avoid the area.
“We are continuing to evacuate people as flooding is still present,” he said. “We encourage people not to come in to Primera, and if they don’t have to drive to not get out of their homes.”
Primera officials established the city’s community center as a drop-off and pick-up location for anyone evacuated from their homes.
Sandbags were also provided to residents.
Valley Morning Star reporter Elsa Cavazos contributed to this report.