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2012-03-22

Gully washer fills ponds, sends Medina River on a rise BHS senior narrowly escapes rising waters on Mayan Crossing bridge

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

It was supposed to be a simple early morning trip to school, but a rapidly rising Medina River caught a local woman and her friend on the Mayan Crossing bridge Tuesday morning.

According to a family spokesman, Bandera High School senior Brynn Hicks and a friend were heading to school early for one-act play practice when their small red car entered the water flowing over the bridge. The light-weight compact was swept against the down-river guard rail where it was pinned.

The quick-thinking Hicks used her cell phone to call her father, Tim Hicks, who quickly arrived on the scene and affected a rescue.

Also on the scene were members of the Bandera Volunteer Fire Department under the direction of Fire Chief Max Konz.

"We got the call from dispatch at 6:15 am and five members of the department arrived on the scene," said Konz. "We were ready to go into the water when they were rescued from the other end of the bridge."

Fire fighters on the scene were Jason Anderssen, Teri Cook, Samantha Williams, Randall Fernandez and Konz.

Bandera County Road and Bridge Department crews were on hand early Tuesday morning to clear the bridge of debris that ranged from trash and brush to one very large cypress stump.

In addition to the Mayan crossing on Schmidtke Road, county crews were out from 2 am dealing with the closing of at least 18 low water crossings on county roads, mostly on the north and west end of the county.

According to Susie Moseley, crossings closed due to heavy rains included English Crossing, Peaceful Valley, Camp Bandina, Schmidtke Road, North and South Seco, North Little Creek, Privilege Creek, Old School Road at Upper Mason Creek, Cornelius, Moffett Park, Thompson Creek, Elm Creek, Coal Kiln, Carpenter Creek, Elam Creek, Live Oak Ridge and Panther Hills.

"We had a few washouts," said Moseley, "but no major damage found so far." The R&B Department recorded 5 inches of rain at their site on Highway 173 North.

TxDOT crews were also on call and busy throughout the night and into the morning hours. A spokesman at the local department reported that crews were out on state roadways clearing debris Tuesday morning. At 9:30 am, FM 337 west of Medina was still officially closed.

"The crews are out clearing debris, but we haven't had any reports of major damage," said the spokesman.

A major storm front moving across Texas Monday and into Tuesday morning dropped one-half to 6 inches across the county. Heaviest rainfall occurred in the Medina area, with the USGS gauge there measuring 6 inches.

The river at Patterson Road recorded a crest of 16 feet.

In Tarpley, official weather watcher Anton Haner reported 2 inches in his neighborhood. Reports in Bandera ranged from 3 to 4 inches around the city.

In Bandera, Bandera County Sheriff's Office deputies evacuated the lower level of Pioneer RV Park on the Medina well ahead of any rising waters.

City Administrator Mike Cardenas had city crews out to put up barricades at low water crossing around town. "We had to barricade 14th Street and Maple, the Mayan bridge crossing, Buck Creek, 1st Street and Hackberry between Main and 11th," reported Cardenas. In addition to the barricades, the city temporarily lost power to a well and the waste water plant due to lightning, but that required only a simple reset, Cardenas said.

"We lost some road at the 1st Street bridge that will need to be replaced," said Cardenas.

The Medina River at Bandera City Park had been running at 4 feet Monday, and crested at 15 feet Tuesday morning before beginning to drop.

Discharge on Monday measured only 20 cubic feet per second, but that jumped to 10,000 cfs on Tuesday.

All that water thundered downstream to a drought-stricken Medina Lake, which rose almost a half-foot by Tuesday morning.



Pictured: Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
A major storm front moving across Texas Monday evening and Tuesday morning dropped welcome rainfall across Bandera County. The Medina River at the Bandera City Park crested at 15 feet thanks to rainfall measurements of 2-4 inches across the watershed.