by JEN BIUNDO
A flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect through noon Wednesday for Hays, Travis and neighboring counties, as Tropical Storm Hermine prepares to dump several inches rain on Central Texas.
The eye of the storm is expected to skirt west of the Austin area, but Hays County may still see about 2 – 5 inches of rain.
Hays County, colloquially dubbed “flash flood alley,” will likely see some closures in the numerous low water crossings, emergency service personnel said Tuesday morning.
Hays County Emergency Services Coordinator Jeff Turner said that no low water crossings had hit the threshold to trigger a road closure, as of 10 a.m., though he anticipated that might change as rain continues through the day.
“We haven’t experienced anything yet, but we are anticipating some of our low water areas to see some increased flows,” Turner said.
In the last three years, Hays County has installed 16 automated flood sensors at the most dangerous low water crossings. Turner urged local motorists to monitor the weather, listen for advisories from the National Weather Service, and keep an eye out for flooded low water crossings.
“If you get to a low water crossing or any water over the road that looks significant, turn around, don’t drown,” Turner said.
Hays CISD Spokesperson Julie Jerome said the district was monitoring the situation and watch low water crossings, but has no immediate plans to let students out early.
Tuesday morning, Buda Fire Chief Clay Huckaby said his department hadn’t yet responded to any calls of flooding or weather-related accidents. The department has additional emergency workers on standby and will continue to monitor the situation, he said.
“The creeks are filling up, but we haven’t witnessed any flooding,” Huckaby said. “We’re watching the eye wall and seeing where this thing’s going. If these rains continue all day long and all night it might be a different story.”
The Kyle Fire Department also hasn’t seen any flooding or storm-related accidents, said Battalion Chief Marco Wren. But as rain continues throughout the day, the fire department will continue to watch the radar and monitor low water crossings.
“A couple more hours of rain constant, we don’t know what might happen here,” Wren said.
Jen Biundo is senior reporter at the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the Mercury.