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CNN SUNDAY MORNING

Flood Water Recedes in New Braunfels

Aired July 7, 2002 - 11:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: In parts of Texas today, the water is rising. Heavy rains pushed creeks near Abilene above their banks forcing thousands of residents in parts of West Texas to evacuate. That's exactly what's been happening in the central part of the state over the last few days. This morning in areas like New Braunfels, the water is receding but a muddy, devastating mess remains. CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us with the very latest. Hi there, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. We're in a neighborhood in the middle of New Braunfels, which is about halfway between Austin and San Antonio, and a lot of homes here are still under water.

This particular home still has a nice layer of water underneath it. If you can see, the rush of the flood waters have -- this house actually sits on stilts, which is rather common for this part of area. After the '98 flood, a lot of people rebuilt their homes here like this to hope to salvage as much as they could if a situation like this were to arise again.

So you can see what they're dealing with here. There's another home here in the background that is also still flooded out. That back wall of the garage over there has been flooded out and looks like it's been blown out and it looks like the house has some structural problems now.

So this is where the Guadalupe River stands now and it has dropped a good amount. Even in the short time that we've been here this morning, where we're standing here about two hours ago was completely covered in water. You can see the trail of mud that the drift and the water currents have left behind her and a lot of people are starting to clean up, getting a first glimpse at what they're coming home to.

We were in the home of Charles Markum (ph) just a little while ago and what he has found in his home, the home that he just recently remodeled is a devastating scene. All of the walls have been blown out by the rush of current. The garage door is completely almost blown off. The carpet is a wet and muddy mess and it's a rather devastating and disappointing scene.

And, quite frankly, a lot of people here just now coming to terms with everything that they're seeing at this point and a lot of people trying to figure out whether or not they're going to rebuild in this neighborhood. So, it's a lot for people here to deal with, but you can see the Guadalupe River behind me.

It's supposed to run about five to eight feet deep, just beyond that tree line over there, so this is clearly still a lot of water left to get rid of here and all this water is moving downstream toward the Segean (ph) and Victoria area, and as we've been reporting, all of this has to go somewhere and that's toward the Gulf of Mexico.

But a lot of the residents we've had a chance to speak with here say that on July 4, they got plenty of notice and a lot of people here at least happy with the fact that they were able to make it out of their homes with many of their personal belongings.

And although, if you can look just outside of Charles Markham's home you can see back over toward the water, that its' still up along the edge of the house there and it's still a very devastating scene for a lot of people to handle.

Quite frankly, a lot of people still coming to terms. We've seen a lot of people coming down here to the water's edge, just getting a glimpse of everything. It's almost become a source of amazement where a lot of parents are bringing their children just to kind of get a glimpse of what mother nature can do -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Now, Ed, are most of these areas flood zones? Do most of the residents in these areas have flood insurance?

LAVANDERA: We've spoken with a lot of people who have said that they do have insurance. Remember four years ago in 1998, there was a similar flood that was actually worse than this by what a lot of people here have told us.

This is an area that had a lot of newcomers. This part of Texas has experienced a tremendous amount of growth, so there are some people who knew what they were getting into, others who didn't quite know exactly what they were getting into. But this is such a popular area in Texas. So many people come here for recreation and it's a great place to have a home, so a lot of people here are kind of lured by the idea of the river in the Texas Hill Country, so it's a very attractive place to live.

So depending on who you talk to, though, but the vast majority I think of the people knew exactly what the possibilities were. A lot of people here talk about the '98 flood and how much damage that did, but that's one thing to talk about, another thing is to experience it -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Right, all right thanks very much, Ed Lavandera, appreciate it.

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