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In Marble Falls, Evacuees Wonder What's Next After Flooding

Andrea Garcia for KUT
Flooding has subsided in Marble Falls, but residents who were evacuated yesterday say they can't yet return to their homes after historic flooding along the Llano River.

Jonathan Hammond has lived in Marble Falls all 30 years of his life. Until yesterday, he'd never seen flooding so bad.

"This is just crazy absolutely crazy," Hammond said, standing on the Highway 281 bridge watching floodwaters rushed by.

"We saw a house float down the river earlier ... they’re losing their houses,” said longtime resident Deborah Pilgrim.

While Marble Falls has seen serious floods before in 1997 and 2007, people here said this one was different in how it came from the river. The rains in town this week weren’t much to comment on, they said, it was the water coursing downstream from the Llano River to the Colorado River that caused much of the damage.

When city officials in Marble Falls saw it heading to town yesterday morning, they told people living close to banks to evacuate, but some found themselves without much time.

“I was in my little trailer the next thing I know. The water rushed up to it,” said Loretta Higgins, whose son, Travis Willis, carried her to safety in knee-high water.

Residents at the First Baptist Church, where evacuees ended up last night, say it could be days, or maybe a week, before they’re allowed back to check their properties, but many worry their houses are gone.  Many say they don’t have flood insurance, and are not sure how they’ll recover.

Ninety-one-year-old Phil Weintraub, who managed to escape the flood with only his cell phone and a week’s worth of medication said he already had a plan.

"I vowed when we had the first flood in 1997, 'If it ever happens again, I’m not going to go through another one,'" he said sitting at a table and drinking coffee from a paper cup.

Now, he says, he’s ready to move to Tucson, Ariz., where his brother lives, hoping to find a property that doesn’t flood.

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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