A torrential early morning rain storm swamped Texas City on Tuesday morning, forcing schools to close, damaging the community college and flooding some homes in the city.
Arriving near the anniversaries of Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Harvey, and with tropical storms lining up in the Atlantic Ocean, the rainy weather stressed local residents and reminded them that damage can come quickly during peak hurricane season.
The heaviest rains began over Galveston County just before 3 a.m., and prompted a flash flood warning for eastern and southern parts of the mainland about 5 a.m.
Parts of Galveston County saw as much as 10 inches of rain during the morning, with the hardest rainfalls happening in the Texas City and La Marque areas.
The rain flooded roadways, including FM 1765. Texas City Independent School District canceled classes for the day — citing forecasts of persistent rain.
“We didn’t want people to get here and not be able to get home,” district spokeswoman Melissa Tortorici said.
Texas City Mayor Matt Doyle called the event a “tough rain.”
The city evacuated one couple from a home, and performed a handful of vehicle rescues in the morning, officials said.
Several homes were flooded, including on Edwards Street, Doyle said. That street, in the western part of the city, flooded often, he said. The city was prepared to work with homeowners to address the issue, although a solution might come down to buyouts, he said.
“We’re not going to be able to help them with drainage,” Doyle said. “We’re going to have to figure out something.”
COLLEGE OF THE MAINLAND
Some of the most significant damage happened at the College of the Mainland on Amburn Road. The college’s main administrative building was flooded with up to 2 inches of water, college spokeswoman Ruth Rendon said.
The flooding might have come from a failed drainage pipe under the building, Rendon said. The water appeared to be coming from inside the building and caused the foundation under a section of the vice presidents’ office to buckle, she said.
The college planned to hire an engineer to assess the damage in coming days, she said.
“There was maybe an inch or two of water through most of the building, enough to create headaches,” Rendon said. “Everything is going to have to be dried out.”
Officials canceled classes at the college Tuesday but planned to resume the normal schedule today, she said. The administrative building will be closed for the rest of the week as crews clean the building, Rendon said.
Other parts of the county fared better than Texas City. There was one confirmed report of a house being flooded in La Marque and none in League City or Dickinson, according to officials in those cities.
Still, the heavy rains and rising creeks caused anxiety among residents who survived Hurricane Harvey last year.
In League City’s Bayridge subdivision, one of the worst flooded during Harvey, residents said they were worried.
“I’m anxious,” said Marika Fuller, a resident of Bayridge. “Everybody is anxious. A lot of us are finally back in our homes and we are not in the mood to go through another flood.”
Fuller awoke to the sound of rain about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and had been keeping an eye on the neighborhood’s detention pond, she said.
“If we get another 6 inches tonight, I don’t know,” she said.
The 433-home subdivision soaked in floodwater for four days after Hurricane Harvey hit Galveston County in late August last year.
MORE ON THE HORIZON
The rain abated about noon, but more is forecast for the week, although not as much as fell Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service in League City.
But as Tuesday’s rain passed, emergency managers were casting a wary eye on a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico and a series of hurricanes and a tropical storm forming in the Atlantic Ocean.
The disturbance, still known as Invest 95L on Tuesday evening, had a 70 percent chance of forming into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days.
That system was expected to reach the Texas coast on Friday and Saturday, according to the weather service. Local officials were hopeful the storm would track south of Galveston County — but said it was too early to know what the storm’s path would be.
“We’ve got to wait and see where it develops, where it’s going and how it might make landfall,” League City spokeswoman Sarah Greer Osborne said.