Get ready for heavy rains this weekend; Street flooding likely in Vidor

Sand and sandbags are ready at the City of Vidor Limb Lot across the street from the Public Works Department at 155 N. Watts Street. This sand is for City of Vidor residents only and there is a limit of ten bags full of sand per resident. Please bring a shovel to fill your own bags.

George Garza
The Vidorian

A fizzled out tropical storm that has entered the Gulf of Mexico has now redeveloped and is taking aim at the Texas Gulf Coast.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey crossed the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea on Tuesday. The remnants of the storm then entered the southern Gulf of Mexico and weather forecasters said at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning that Harvey had re-developed into a tropical depression.
This morning the tropical depression has been grown into Tropical Storm Harvey with sustained winds near the center at 65 miles per hour.
Forecasters are now predicting that the storm, now located in the southwest Gulf of Mexico will reach hurricane strength and will continue to move towards Corpus Christi, Texas making landfall early Saturday morning. A hurricane warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to Matagorda, TX A tropical storm watch is in effect currently from north of Matagorda, TX to High Island, TX.
According to the City of Vidor Emergency Management Coordinator, Sergeant Aleta Cappen, the Lake Charles Weather Service Office has indicated that there is a potential for Vidor to experience a major rain event associated with this storm.
“Whether the storm makes landfall in South Texas or near Galveston, Vidor and Orange County will remain on the east side of the center of the storm. Because of the counter-clock wise circulation of any tropical storm, being east of the storm puts us on the ‘wet side’ of the storm. Vidor is likely to see heavy rains on Friday and Saturday, and the Weather Service has said that we could see anywhere from seven to twenty inches of rain,” said Sgt. Cappen.
The City of Vidor is making preparations for street flooding by inspecting and cleaning all city storm drainage outfall ditches. In addition, the City has made sand and bags available for City of Vidor residents only across the street from the Public Works Building on Watts Street.
Sgt. Cappen said that if you see a drainage ditch that has debris or is otherwise clogged with vegetation, you should call her office at 409-769-4561 to report the problem.
Citizens who live outside of the City of Vidor can find empty sandbags and sand available at the Orange County Raymond Gould Park in Vidor off Claiborne Street. A sand pile and empty bags are available near the southwest corner of the parking lot.
In a major rain event, citizens of Vidor and west Orange County can expect to deal with localized street flooding and possible power outages caused by lightning strikes and waterlogged broken tree limbs. Sgt. Cappen said that it is important that drivers remember to Turn Around, Don’t Drown on flooded streets. The Sergeant indicated that water as shallow as three inches can cause some passenger cars to lose traction and start floating. Don’t become a casualty of driving into the unknown and being swept away downstream in an overflowing drainage ditch. Remember you can’t see the pavement on a flooded street, so you can’t be sure the roadway hasn’t been washed out.
The Orange County Water Control and Improvement District is preparing for the storm by checking all of its electrical generators that can power some of the lift stations, one of the water wells and the entire sanitary sewer plant. District Manager Norman Blackman said that the District will be able to continue to provide fresh water throughout their system even if Entergy Texas power supply is interrupted.
How should you prepare for a major storm event?
“Stay at home. Don’t get in your car and drive around on flooded streets during the storm,” said Sgt. Cappen. “Go ahead and stock up now with canned foods and water for each person in your house to last for three days. And then settle in on Friday and possibly on Saturday as well. There may be power outages, so pick up foods that you can eat straight out of the can in case you can’t cook or refrigerate. And don’t forget a manual can opener.”
Cappen also suggested that citizens have a battery powered weather radio to get the latest information about storm conditions. And a flashlight or two might be useful for nighttime power outages.
The Texas Department of Public Safety offers more information on preparing for hurricanes or tropical storms at their Internet web site

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