HEREFORD, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — According to the American Red Cross, several homes were damaged and destroyed after flooding in Hereford over the weekend.
“Early in the morning on Saturday, we’ve got like three or four inches then and then on into the evening, we ended up getting forward to seven, eight, nine inches more,” said Deaf Smith County Sheriff J. Dale Butler. “[We] got calls of people being stranded on the highway and coming in from the west. We got a lot of hail out by Caviness that ended up looking like snow accumulation, water running across the road, trash and debris running across the road, cars stalling out because it’s so deep. We were out there trying to get people off the highway into town and get the road cleared.”
Then, Butler said they began receiving reports of flooding in the San Jose community in Hereford. He said responders from the Deaf Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Hereford Fire Department, and San Jose community members performed water rescues in the area.
Jesse Foy, the assistant director of external relations for the American Red Cross on this deployment, said of the approximately 300 homes in the community, four were totally destroyed and 19 others have major water damage.
“There was a larger number that had some minor damage to them, maybe a little bit of water in the yards and things like that,” said Foy. “But the ones that we’re really focused on are the ones that have the major and destroyed homes.”
The Texas Division of Emergency Management said on Wednesday that personnel are on the ground, working with local officials and the community as they respond to and recover from the storm damage.
Butler said at this time, there are no reports of injuries or fatalities from this disaster.
“We did have quite a few homes that have been impacted. There are pumps out there that are pumping the water out because Texas Emergency Management sent the pumps down to get that done, to where we can get it out,” Butler said. “We got with Salvation Army and they’ve got some cleanup kits and some hygiene kits that we’re dispersing today. We’ve been dealing with Red Cross earlier, or like in last weekend, to where they were helping with food and housing and setting up shelters and there’s been quite a few coming out of the San Jose community.”
Foy said he does not know the exact number of people who were displaced by flooding but they have served 100 to 150 meals each day to community members.
“What we’re doing is trying to make sure that people have a place to stay, have food, eat, and take care of their health and mental care needs,” said Foy. “So we provide sheltering for people that need it. We basically opened up a shelter for a period of time and let people stay there who had no place else to go.”
Foy said for now, they are helping people with casework to address their long-term needs.
According to Foy, only a handful of people they worked with have nowhere to go, and they worked with the county to put them up in hotels.
The TDEM also said they are continuing to work with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to support residents in need of sheltering assistance.
Sheriff Butler said First Baptist Church and Nazarene Church in Hereford are still working to help those who are affected.
“They are trying to dole out supplies and such as that and if you can, get in touch with them, if you have something to donate, or if you need something, get in touch with them and they can run it up the chain,” Butler said.
Butler encouraged the community to be careful if flood waters rise again and said they have also been working with TDEM to get resources prepared.
“We did lose a pickup last week off into some swift water. The fire department had to do a swift water rescue to get him out,” Butler continued. “Be sure to report it, that way we can get people out there to take care of it and block it off and as we needed to and look at it, but just stay out of the water because it’s hard on you, hard on your vehicle, and it can actually hurt you.”
In a social media post on Wednesday, the Deaf Smith County Sheriff’s Office thanked county deputies, the Hereford Fire Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the City of Hereford, Atmos Energy, Excel Energy, TXDOT, and community members for their swift response to this disaster.
Xcel Energy said they had to cut services to 15 customers in Hereford because of the danger posed by two to three feet of water in their homes. Once the area is pumped out and an inspector approves it, they will reconnect power.
Those affected by flooding are encouraged by the TDEM to self-report the damage to assess whether this disaster meets federal requirements for assistance.
Click here for the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool. TDEM said the survey is available in English and Spanish.