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Heavy Rainfall Causes Flash Flooding For San Antonio And Surrounding Cities

Heavy rains filled low water crossings around San Antonio and area of the Hill Country this morning with more rain in the forecast. Several counties to the north of Bexar remain under a Flash Flood Warning and San Antonio will remain under a Flash Flood Watch until after 10 p.m. tonight.

San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Woody Woodward said San Antonio faired pretty well this morning with fire crews only responding to one minor water rescue.

A man in his 40s needed help after he was caught in high water at Hollyhock and Babcock roads. Water was halfway up the door of his car when he sought help. He was removed safely and no one suffered any injuries, Woodward said

According to the National Weather Service, the Hill Country, San Antonio, and most of South Central Texas was inundated with heavy rain this morning that lead to flooding in some areas.

"It looks like we’ve had pockets of rain fall between 3 and 4 inches," says NWS  Meteorologist Steve Smart. "Perhaps even some higher amounts, maybe 5 inches across portions of Zavala County and Uvalde, but 3 to 4 inches across the eastern portion of the Hill Country.

Most of the rain has moved off to the east, but a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the San Antonio area until 10 tonight.

"With all of the previous heavy rains we’ve had the past few days especially a day ago and then now this heavy rains, with a few inches on top of what was already a problem with saturated soils and heavy rains, and a number of low water crossings flooded, this exacerbated that problem and then created additional new problems; quite a number of low water crossings have been flooded there’s been a number of high water rescues and just ongoing flooding issues across a number of counties in the South Texas area," Smart says.

Other areas of concern include New Braunfels and Boerne which also saw high volumes of rain and flash flooding.

The Comal River remains closed to recreation today. Heavy rains overnight Tuesday dumped 4 inches in the area that feeds the river overnight, and river flows Wednesday were at 4,500  cubic feet per second.

New Braunfels Police Department spokesman David Ferguson says that's about 10 times the ideal tubing speed on the river, so officials responded to keep people safe.

He's optimistic that the river will be back to normal by the Memorial Day Weekend:

"We’ll have to send some of our city parks and rec crews out to pick up any debris that may have come down the river, tree branches and leaves, that kind of thing. Every once in awhile you get something else that’s floated down the river so, we have to remove those things. And then we want to do some minor repairs to anything that may have been damaged, walkways, railings that kind of thing especially around the tube chute area, Prince Solms Park, Hinman Island," Ferguson says.

Ferguson says the Dry Comal Creekbed - which is normally dry - is flowing at about the same rate of speed as the Comal River itself but says a flood-retarding structure installed after the 1998 flood is expected to keep homes and businesses in the area safe.

For a look at areas that have flooded, the NWS provides a map.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.
Tricia Schwennesen is the Web Producer/News Editor for Texas Public Radio where she manages the station’s web site and social media accounts.