The city of Kyle is calling it the Halloween Flood of 2015—not to be confused with the 2013 Halloween Flood, City Manager Scott Sellers said.
Two years ago Hays County, along with parts of Travis County, experienced a 100-year-flood that caused millions of dollars in devastation and displaced many residents. On Oct. 30 the city faced another flash flood.
On Oct. 31, Mayor Todd Webster issued a disaster declaration. According to a city of Kyle presentation, about 17.5 inches of rain fell in the city from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31.
“We had half a year’s rainfall in a day,” Sellers said. “This is a storm that you just don’t anticipate.”
Most parts of Kyle received about 10 inches or fewer during the 2013 event. The 2015 event is being categorized as a 500-year-flood, Sellers said. That means such a storm has a 0.2 percent chance of occurring in any given year.
The city is preparing for another possible flood event. Hays County is under a flash flood watch through the morning of Nov. 6, according to the National Weather Service.
In the days following the Oct. 30 flood, city personnel have cleaned up creeks and various infrastructure that drains excess water in a heavy rainfall event.
“We wanted to make sure this was a full recovery and that future storm events such as the one that is planned for tonight into this weekend would be alleviated as much as possible,” Sellers said at a Nov. 4 City Council meeting.
The city is in the initial phases of applying for state and federal aid. Sellers said the city sustained about $467,000 in damage, according to a preliminary assessment. Damaged roads include Windy Hill ($300,000), Bebee ($150,000) and Dry Hole ($5,000) roads. Among other damaged city property are police vehicles, trails and parks and an elevator at City Hall.
Lehman Road will be closed for at least two more weeks. The road remains underwater, Sellers said. Dry Hole Road is closed indefinitely.
Much of the city’s infrastructure is designed to sustain a 100-year-flood, Sellers said. But with flash floods becoming increasingly frequent the city could re-examine the way it engineers storm drainage infrastructure, he said.
“The issue was we had too much rain—too much rain too fast,” he said.