Flooding worst since Hurricane Dolly

RAYMONDVILLE — It might be the worst flooding in 20 years — since Hurricane Dolly.

By noon Tuesday, floodwaters covered as much as 70 percent of Raymondville’s streets, rising over fire hydrants after about 14 inches of rain pelted the area during a four-hour period.

Mayor Gilbert Gonzales was urging residents to stay indoors.

“If you need to be picked up, call the Raymondville Police Department and they’ll pick you up,” Gonzales said at about 12:30 p.m.

Officials were trying to assess the damage.

“They’re flooded — 60 to 70 percent of the city,” Andres Chavez, the city’s code enforcement director, said at about 11:30 a.m. “The water is not receding. The canals are full.”

At Willacy County Drainage District No. 1 in Lyford, crews were using two pumps in Santa Monica to drain floodwaters.

“We’re going to be running them around the clock until the levels go down,” General Manager Paul Greenhill said at about 4 p.m., referring to the pumps draining 72,000 gallons per minute.

Greenhill, who compared the flooding to Hurricane Dolly’s wrath in 2008, was flying a drone to photograph the damage.

“We sure got a lot of damage,” he said. “The water got into homes. Several automobiles were flooded halfway up their doors.”

Some residents were calling it the worst flooding since Hurricane Beulah’s floodwaters ravaged the region in September 1967.

“Older people around town are telling me it’s the worst flooding since Hurricane Beulah,” Frank Torres, Willacy County’s emergency management coordinator, said at about noon.

“We have severe flooding throughout the city of Raymondville, Lyford, Sebastian and Lasara,” Torres said.

In Raymondville, floodwaters were high.

“Water hydrants are underwater,” Torres said.