Governor declares disaster as Galveston flooded by heavy rain

By Taisha Walker - Reporter, Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor, Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

GALVESTON, Texas - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday issued a disaster declaration for much of the Texas coast after heavy rain led to flooding in parts of Galveston.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch until 4 p.m. for much of Southeast Texas.

Radar showed several bands of heavy rain moving across Galveston Island.

A video shared by a KPRC2 viewer showed standing water at Shearn-Moody Plaza, at the corner of 25th and New Strand streets.

Photos showed the intersection of 67th Street and Heards Lane was also flooded.

KPRC2 reporter Taisha Walker tweeted a video of a flooded Broadway Street near 49th Street. Several blocks over on Broadway, Frank Pederson's car got stuck in high water.

"I was on my way to Texas A&M and there was a truck coming the other way and the wave kinda pushed me and he pushed me right in here," Pederson said.

The water was waist deep toward the back of Pederson's car. He said water also made its way inside his car, which had to be towed.

"It's flooded inside, too, said Pederson. "I tried to open up the door to get out and it was so high I could not even close the door properly so probably about 1 (foot) of the car. But it's just a car. I'm alive."

Jessica James nearly had a close call driving through several secondary roads in Galveston. Her SUV nearly stalled out at the same intersection as Pederson.

"I didn't realize that it was this flooded until we left and then once we left we couldn't just turn around because it started to flood up behind us," James said. "And so we kept going to find higher ground and so we got stuck in this neighborhood over here and almost didn't make it out of the neighborhood."

Also down Broadway, Bobby Hall and his friend took their kayak's and paddled around helping those in need.

"We actually bought these last year after Hurricane Harvey specifically for this reason. We've actually got a lot more use out of them than people think," Hall said. "There's no where for people to go. We've helped a couple people with their cars."

Island Transit services were suspended because of the weather.

Galveston Independent School District closed some schools like Ball High School and canceled several sporting events.

Texas A&M Galveston also canceled classes.

"They said shelter in place because it's pretty dangerous. They don't want people going in," said student Lydia Zepeta.

Galveston resident Marshell Settlemire, a mobile car mechanic, said his boss called him off work Friday. Instead, he volunteered to take a lot of his tools and help those stuck in their cars.

"(I've helped) at least a dozen. I've been doing this since this morning," Settlemire said.

Periods of heavy rain are forecast for much of the day along the coast.

Abbott said in a written statement that the disaster declaration includes the following counties: Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Bee, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brooks, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Dimmitt, Duval, Edwards, Fayette, Fort Bend, Frio, Galveston, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Jackson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kinney, Kleberg, La Salle, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Live Oak, Llano, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Montgomery, Nueces, Polk, Real, Refugio, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Starr, Travis, Trinity, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala.

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