Storms leave damage, city prepares for next round

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The rain forced many to cancel or change their Memorial Day plans. It also forced some drivers to turn around with water over roadways, and wind left behind damage, too.

Strong winds tore down or damaged several trees in the Gracy Woods neighborhood in North Austin. Several trees were uprooted and landed on the roofs of homes.

Sarah Smith says she was lying on the couch with her 7-month-old son at a nearby apartment complex when the building started shaking around 11:30 a.m.

“It just shook for about 10- to 15 seconds, and it was just heavy rain after that,” Smith said.

The storm also ripped apart a large tree right next to her balcony.

“We get thunderstorms through here pretty often, and it wasn’t like anything I’ve ever felt before,” Smith said.

Seeing creeks flowing Monday was a nice site. In some cases, though, the water rose so quickly it covered roads, forcing closures, and even jeopardizing safety. Crews rescued a man from Shoal Creek near Fifth Street.

KXAN talked to city officials about their response and their preparations for potential weather overnight.

Kevin Shunk is a City of Austin Flood Plan administrator. He works with the Emergency Operations Center during severe weather. The warning system includes rain gauges, stream sensors, radars and human eyes and ears.

“Flood warning staff will certainly be aware and be watching the storms as they come in,” said Shunk. “And then we’ll be on-call and certainly be in contact with our field crews to have boots on the ground.”

Following a busy day Monday, Shunk says they’re now preparing for more storms expected overnight and early Tuesday morning.

“You’re never exactly sure when it’s going to hit, so we’ll be monitoring things for sure,” Shunk said.

To check for road closures and low water crossings throughout the city, visit ATXFloods.com.

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