Statement from City of Harlingen on flooding, sandbags

A section of the frontage road along the Expressway 83 is underwater Tuesday morning in western Cameron County. Courtesty: Cameron County Commissioner Pct. 4 Gus Ruiz

This is a news release from the City of Harlingen regarding the overnight flooding, street closures and sandbag distribution: 

The City of Harlingen continues to monitor weather conditions as more rain is expected in the area today.  Monday night’s unexpected rain event caused flash flooding in several areas of the City.  The heavy rainfall temporarily exceeded the five-year designed capacity of the City’s interior storm drainage system.  Weather reports indicate more than 12 ½   inches of rain pounded Harlingen within a 3-4 hour time period.  This amount of rainfall is classified between a 100-500 year storm event.

Local meteorologists estimate the City’s northwest side was the heaviest hit area with about 10-13 inches of rain followed by the Downtown area which received about 8-10 inches of rain.  The southeast side of Harlingen is believed to have received 3-6 inches during that time frame.

The following streets were closed due to flooding.

  • Tyler and Harrison (re-opened water receded by 7 a.m.)
  • Bass Boulevard
  • Palm Court to Bus. 83 (Re-opened at 8:30 a.m.)
  • Dixieland to Expressway
  • Loop 499
  • Rangerville Road to Dixieland
  • Wilson to Bass Boulevard
  • Ed Carey to Bus. 77
  • 6th Street to Monroe
  • Austin to Bus. 77
  • Commerce to Bus. 77
  • Fair Park(Commerce west to Wichita)
  • Commerce (Markowsky to Fair Park)
  • Jackson (Commerce to I Street)

In addition, 17-families asked for assistance to get out of their homes due to temporary flooding.  At this time, people needing shelter are being sent to the La Feria Dome located at 1001 Pancho Maples Drive in coordination with the American Red Cross.

The City has also commenced sandbag operations at the Public Works Facility located at 404 South 54th Street.  Harlingen residents are allowed six bags while businesses get 12. Residents need to show an id with a Harlingen address and a water bill indicating they have garbage service with the City.  Operations will continue until 5:30 p.m. today.  Already staff has handed out more than 300 bags since the center opened at 8 a.m.

Meantime, the Harlingen Water Works System urges reduced water use today particularly in the areas that are flooded.  Residents are asked to avoid running washing machines, dish washers, and any other large water appliance or system until the water recedes.  As a reminder cleanouts should never be opened in the yard to drain yard flooding as this will only cause more problems for people downstream and can increase the chance for backups into houses in the same neighborhood.  It is also illegal and will jeopardize the offender’s water account.

Drivers are asked to avoid streets that are flooded.  It can be dangerous to you and you could cause water to flow into homes or businesses.  Also, some street signals may be out so please treat as four way stops.

The heavy rainfall has also forced the closure of the Tony Butler Golf Course and all swimming pools including the Splash Pad.  The Summer Playground Program, 7 on 7 games and City Softball games are also cancelled for today.

The City of Harlingen will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates throughout the day and above all else, we ask that you be careful out there.