Almost as much as Beulah and Dolly, says Precinct 1 Commissioner Fuentes
WESLACO – Precinct 1 Commissioner David L. Fuentes provided a comprehensive update of the county, multi-agency response to the recent, unprecedented, non-hurricane, torrential rain that caused major flooding in eastern and western Hidalgo County.
“We received in about a day and a half, almost the same amount of rain as was produced during Hurricane Beulah,” Fuentes said. “Our drainage system worked, but was simply overwhelmed by the downpour on Wednesday and then by the downpour and water runoff in western Hidalgo County Thursday.”
Fuentes was joined by Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios, Drainage District General Manager Raul E. Sesin, county Emergency Management Coordinator Ricardo Saldaña, Health Department Director Eduardo “Eddie” Olivarez, Weslco Fire Chief and Emergency Management officer Antonio Lopez, Community Service Agency Director Jaime Longoria, Chief of Investigations for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Oscar Montoya, filling in for Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra and representatives from the county precincts 2 and 3.
“The drainage system was at full capacity after the first day with upwards of 18 inches and then we received another 15 inches the second day,” Sesin said. “We feel the system has done its job as efficiently as possible.”
Fuentes added that floodgates are raised and lowered in a controlled manner that is designed to minimize flooding in neighborhoods.
Now that the county and state have issued disaster declarations, the next step is for the federal government to issue one for our area, which will allow FEMA to come in to assist. The threshold for Hidalgo County to qualify for federal aid is $2.7 million in damages, which Saldaña said “we have already exceeded.” In addition to the local threshold, the state has to have damages of $37 million to qualify for federal aid.
Fuentes and the other participants spoke about safety, local assistance, clean up efforts, vector control, and ongoing recovery efforts. Additional updates and video of today’s news conference will be provided via the county’s Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as on the county’s website at www.hidalgocounty.us