Residents braced for historic Blanco flooding

By Moses Leos III

Blanco Vista residents Drew and Kathy Rich knew it was raining “a lot” in Hays County when they retired for the evening Saturday.  

They kept up with newscasts documenting the heavy rainfall in the area.  

But several hours later, they were among the many residents who evacuated their homes early Sunday morning as the Blanco River swelled beyond its banks.  

For Drew Rich, the decision to leave was made with little discussion.  

“It was better to be safe than sorry,” he said. “We packed up (our belongings) and left.”  

Reverse 911 was the first sign of trouble for the Rich family, who got the alert at around 3 a.m. Soon, he and Kathy left for the San Marcos Activity Center, which was being used as a shelter during the flood.  

Ultimately, the two had to leave the SMAC and had to be separated from their dogs; a kennel was set up for dogs at the shelter. 

But inside, the shelter was a frenetic scene as many San Marcos residents gathered as flood waters ravaged portions of town.  

“The Activity Center was very busy,” Kathy Rich said. “Then we heard they filled up, so they had to open up Hernandez (Middle School).”  

Sunday’s flood was a first for the two, who moved into Blanco Vista two years ago. Both were relieved when water didn’t reach their home.  

“It’s nice to know that as bad as it got, it didn’t make its way to the subdivision,” Drew said.  

Also unaffected was San Marcos resident Max Higgins, whose home in Blanco Vista was spared by the flood waters.  

But according to Higgins, his brother’s home located on Barbara Lane by River Road in San Marcos was not as lucky.  

The area was one of the hardest hit regions in San Marcos, which experienced flooding on River Road and on Aquarena Springs Drive.  

“Water was rushing inside of their home over at that area,” Higgins said. “They had to have the police get them and take them away.”  

Leon Mills, who lives on Easton Street in Blanco Vista, said he was awoken in the early morning hours when he realized the power was out.  

After grabbing a flashlight, Mills noticed flashing lights. Believing it was a possible robbery in the neighborhood, Mills made his way to the balcony to investigate further.  

He realized the lights were from police cruisers; the officers soon made their way to his home, where they stressed the importance of evacuating. For Mills, it was a moment of shock.  

“The guy said ‘your house is going to be underwater. You’ve got two hours, you need to evacuate. We will not be able to get you if you choose to stay,’” Mills said. “So we grabbed our dogs, necessary paperwork and went to Kyle for a couple of hours until it receded.”  

But Mills was one of many residents that ventured to Five Mile Dam Park to view the aftermath of the flood.  

Water from the river reached Old Stagecoach Road, which abuts Five Mile Dam Park. In the process, the waters damaged the soccer fields, destroying many of the soccer goals, along with leaving a vast trail of debris. In addition, a portion of Old Stagecoach Road was washed away by the event.  

Since moving into neighborhood last August, seeing the Blanco River rise as fast as it did was something Mills “never dreamed” would happen.  

“When nature comes and it decides to do its thing, there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said.

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