Flash flooding possible as thousands of visitors head to Austin

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, of Germany, left, leads teammate Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, into the first turn at the start of the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, of Germany, left, leads teammate Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, into the first turn at the start of the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As thousands of Formula One fans head to Austin for this weekend’s race at Circuit of the Americas, rain could cause flash flooding, closing roads in central Texas.

“We have a lot of people in town and a lot of people who may not be familiar with flooding in Austin,” said Kevin Shunk, the floodplain administrator for the City of Austin.

KXAN Investigates checked the low water crossings and found several near Circuit of the Americas and parking lots for Formula One fans.

“They don’t know where the low water crossings are, how to get around them or anything like that,” said Virginia Gonzales.

Gonzales lives near the track and a low water crossing at Elroy Road and Jacobson Road in Travis County. An electronic sign was also displaying messages Wednesday such as “FASTEST COTA EXIT,” near Virginia’s driveway and the piece of road that sometimes floods.

As the weather rolls in, the county will be watching traffic near the track. The county will be staffing its emergency operations center at similar levels to a small disaster in preparation for the weekend, according to Travis County Traffic Engineer David Greear. Greear also says a helicopter will monitor traffic, emergency officials will keep in touch with crews at the track and officials will decide how to handle and direct traffic in real time.

The City of Austin will also have a presence at the emergency operations center for Formula One weekend, according to Angel Flores with the Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“If, for example, weather conditions do pose a threat to public safety, residents and visitors should pay close attention, whether it be a weather radio, or media reports, or National Weather Service Updates, whatever they can,” said Flores.

The city will also be airing radio announcement letting visitors know to check the status of low water crossings.

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