In Granbury, rains bring devastation for some, relief for others

06/23/2014 10:26 PM

06/24/2014 4:41 PM

The deluge that pummeled the Granbury area on Sunday proved to be both a blessing and a curse.

For residents who live in two neighborhoods northeast of Granbury, fast-rising floodwaters destroyed and damaged homes. But the storm that dumped roughly 7 inches of rain in the area also helped replenish Lake Granbury, which had dropped to record low levels.

The flood damage was concentrated in the Quail Ridge and Sun Meadows additions in unincorporated Hood County, near Nolan Branch.

Some residents who lived in the area were surprised at the level of damage.

When Bea Byrd-Williams left her mobile home on North Blue Quail Court Sunday she thought she might get a little rain. But when she returned, she found her garage gone and a neighbor’s mobile home washed off its pad.

Her 79-year-old mother, who couldn’t swim, had to be rescued from her own nearby home.

“This is what’s left — total destruction,” Byrd-Williams said as she looked at a pile of debris surrounding her car that floated about a block away from her mobile home. “We can’t even find everything anymore.”

Three mobile homes were destroyed and two had minor damage in the Quail Ridge addition, while in the Sun Meadows neighborhood, four homes were destroyed and three had major damage.

The damage prompted Hood County Judge Darrell Cockerham to sign a disaster declaration for the area Monday afternoon.

“It looks like the water was coming up real fast and was coming up underneath these mobile homes into the flooring and decking,” said Hood County Fire Marshal Ray Wilson. “It also affected the utilities and plumbing and air conditioning, which are often underneath these mobile homes.”

Wilson said no one was injured in Sunday’s floods or unaccounted for afterward.

Lake waters rise

While the heavy rains were troublesome for the two neighborhoods, they were a Godsend for drought-plagued Lake Granbury.

Down 11.5 feet before this weekend’s rains, Lake Granbury rose nearly 5 feet in 24 hours. And the lake was expected to come up another foot in the coming days.

The heavy rains helped cover many of the islands that had appeared in the middle of the lake and began refilling canals that run behind high-dollar homes on the lake.

With the summer recreation season in full swing, the surprise storm couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It would really be nice to have the lake at a good usable level on The Fourth of July,” said Cockerham, the county judge. “People would normally be out on the lake watching the fireworks display on their boat. That’s a big weekend for us.”

While the rains also benefited Lake Whitney downstream on the Brazos River, which rose about 3 feet, it did little to help Possum Kingdom lake upstream.

‘It’s like Christmas’

Closer to home, Sunday’s and Monday morning’s storms dropped 1.21 inches or rain at Dallas/For Worth Airport, putting the region at 2.18 inches for the month. That’s 0.87 inch below normal for June and 9.79 inches below normal for the year.

The West Fork of the Trinity River, which has been its driest since the drought of record in the 1950s, saw slight gains at Lake Bridgeport and Eagle Mountain Lake. It was the first runoff into Lake Bridgeport since March.

“We’re still real down but the pump is primed,” said David Marshall, engineering services director for the Tarrant Regional Water District, which provides raw water to 98 percent of Tarrant County.

“If we can get some more rain this week, we could really see our lakes come up,” Marshall said. “It’s like Christmas for me.”

More rain in forecast

The chances of rain will stick around later this week, but forecasters aren’t expecting a repeat of the heavy rains that hit Hood County.

“We expect it to be more isolated, more hit-and-miss,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Dunn. “That doesn’t mean some areas won’t see some good rains but other areas a short distance away might see little or nothing at all.”

The Climate Prediction Center shows above-average chances of rain into the first week of July, and while forecasters don’t expect the rain to help end the drought, it could hold off the summer heat for a little longer.

“I don’t think it will really help long-term with the drought but it could provide short-term relief,” Dunn said.

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