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Community

Wimberley Homeowners Nervously Watch Storms, Flooding

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Ryan E. Poppe
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Aftermath of the Blanco River months after the Memorial Day floods

 Homeowner Bob Flocke lives just outside of Wimberley along the Blanco River.  During the May floods, Flocke decided to stay in his home after Hays County officials urged him and his family to evacuate to higher ground. He says he and his family are lucky to have survived what happened next.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Low water crossings along the Blanco River

  “The water was not in the house, but it was climbing up the house. It came up fast, it was climbing up and it had not gotten into the front yard yet, which is higher than the back,” Flocke explained.

Flocke said his home, while still standing, has been gutted from the inside by the rising river.

“We had four feet high inside the house and just mud and gunk everywhere, furniture all over the place,”  Flocke said.

Focke and his wife now rent an apartment in New Braunfels while crews put their home back together.

Not everyone in Wimberley was as lucky.  Eleven people died during the Memorial Day floods after being swept away by the river’s rushing torrent.

Cathy Moreman with the Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce said the community has also lost other residents who will never be able to return to their homes along the Blanco River.

“There are people who had their homes on the river who will just not be able to rebuild.  The floods maps are being re-drawn, so people are just not comfortable living on the river now,” Moreman said.

After the trauma of losing friends and neighbors, those who’ve toughed it out in Wimberley are skittish about the storm clouds gathering this weekend.

Wimberley’s Mayor Steve Thurber said being a little scared is a good thing for this community.

“The antenna for all of us perked up when we heard about the storm and I’m sure they are even more alert now, but to me that’s a good thing.  People paid attention earlier this time,” Thurber said.

Cathy Moreman said the Chamber of Commerce had scheduled a weekend event to memorialize those lost in the May flooding and to celebrate the town’s recovery.

“The Memorial weekend flood has taken its toll on our community and it’s been a little over five months since that happened, and now the prediction of this severe rain event headed our way this weekend has taken us all, well we’re just shocked,” Moreman said.

Moreman said that three-day event is now postponed as Wimberley battens down the hatches and remains vigilant- ready to move beyond the reaches of the river if it again threatens lives and property