AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As severe weather continues to bring rain to the Panhandle, flooding has caused road closures and property damage.
According to Amarillo Assistant City Manager Floyd Hartman, playa lakes around Amarillo are at or above capacity.
“We’re experiencing unprecedented rains over an unprecedented time, that is over overburdening the system,” said Hartman. “What we’re seeing is that staff is out there monitoring and turning on the pumps. We can’t pump when the rain is occurring because the system utilizes the existing piping for the gravity flow that prevents flooding of roads and businesses.”
Hartman said the city is working with the county to provide solutions to flooding.
“We greatly appreciate the county,” said Hartman. “There are limitations based on the ability to pump water and capacities in other lakes, but specifically in playa seven down on Soncy, we’re putting in a temporary pump that will be in place today.”
With more rainfall in the forecast, Randall County Judge Christy Dyer signed a declaration of local disaster Thursday afternoon.
In the declaration Dyer ordered that ordered Lake Tanglewood, Timbercreek Canyon, The Palisades, and River Falls closed to the public for any type of recreational activities.
“Protecting the safety of residents as they travel through areas of concern is a priority for Randall County,” said Judge Dyer.
Randall County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Hank Blanchard said they are running a unified command.
“We’re working with the troopers that we have to make sure that the roads that are closed that we’re not having people going around them,” said Blanchard. “Turn around, don’t drown.
Blanchard continued, “We don’t want anybody driving through that water because you can’t tell how fast it’s moving sometimes. It can wash cars away pretty quickly. We’re really working hard with our road and bridge department, they set up barricades on the roads that are completely flooded out, to try to keep some of those from people getting in there and getting stuck.”
Blanchard shared they continue to monitor the situation and at this time there is no reason to evacuate.
Canyon and Amarillo have worked closely with their emergency management offices and Red Cross. External Director Jesse Foy shared that the flooding has primarily been in streets and fields and they saw little damage to homes.
According to Foy at this time there is no need for a shelter or feeding facility but those things will be put into place if needed.
If your home has been impacted Foy recommends working through your county or city emergency management.
“The best thing to do is work through your county or city emergency management,” said Foy. That could be done directly or call your fire department to record it. Then we work with the city and the county to see where we need to deploy people and where we need to open shelters. But we wouldn’t do that unless we worked through the appropriate local authorities.”