Double The Flow Rate of Niagara Falls

City releases new Onion Creek flooding stats

Workers clean up debris from the Onion Creek area
Workers clean up debris from the Onion Creek area (by John Anderson)

Last night, the City of Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management office released the latest information regarding the damage caused by the October 31 in southeast Austin. Officials have inspected approximately 1791 properties in Austin and Travis County as of yesterday. Over a third of those homes sustained some sort of damage.

Officials say that of the 659 homes with damage, 259 have been classified as having major damage. 15 homes have been deemed destroyed. In the affected area, 1,300 tons of debris has been removed, described by HSEM as "the weight equivalent of more than 800 mid-size cars." 43 people are still living in the Flood Assistance Center at the Dove Springs Recreation Center, which will remain open throughout the week as the recovery continues.

The HSEM also released numbers from the U.S. Geological Survey on the extent of the flooding. Onion Creek had a staggering flow rate, doubling the average flow rate of Niagra Falls. At US 183, Onion Creek water levels reached a record height of 41 feet. In a 15 minute period, the water gauge rose 11 feet. According to available records, this was the first time water levels rose to to over 40 feet in that area. Only on three other years did the water level exceed 35 feet – in 1869, 1921, and 1869.

Meanwhile the Flood Assistance Center is expanding the services offered to flood victims. Today, the Texas Department of Public Safety will be on hand to assist with identification replacement. Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services will also be offering flu and tetanus vaccinations between 1-5pm. The U.S. Postal Service is holding mail at their 4516 Burleson Road location for affected citizens. Residents are asked to bring a photo ID to claim mail.

Tommorow, the Austin Police Department's Region 4 District representatives, the Austin Police Activities League, and Cops for Charities will be hosting soccer games and trick-or-treating at the Onion Creek Soccer Fields between 4:30-6:30pm for families that missed Halloween. Free hot dogs and refreshments will be available, along with medals for the participants.

At a shortened meeting this morning, City Council approved two items to help with the flood recovery. Item 86 waived permitting and development fees to help in rebuilding efforts. Item 87 ratified the Declaration of Local Disaster earlier called by Mayor Lee Leffingwell. According to city officials, that step is key to requesting FEMA support.

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News, Austin flooding, Onion Creek, Austin Police Department, Austin City Council, austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management, U.S. Geological Survey

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