Wa­ter­ways re­open as re­ced­ing river brings some re­lief

Austin American-Statesman - - HURRICANE HARVEY - By Roberto Vil­lal­pando rvil­lal­pando@statesman.com Con­tact Roberto Vil­lal­pando at 512-445-3881.

As Cen­tral Texas dries out from week­end storms as­so­ci­ated with Hur­ri­cane Har­vey, com­mu­ni­ties along the Colorado River in Bas­trop and Fayette coun­ties on Tues­day waited for the swollen wa­ter­way to re­turn its banks.

Hope for re­cov­ery bright­ened when the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice on Tues­day can­celed its flood warn­ing for ar­eas along the Colorado near Smithville, where 23 inches of rain had fallen in the past week, ac­cord­ing to the Lower Colorado River Au­thor­ity.

The river at Smithville crested at 31.9 feet around 3 a.m. Mon­day, but by 10 a.m. Tues­day, the wa­ter dropped to be­low flood stage, which is 20 feet. The river was ex­pected to re­turn to pre-Har­vey lev­els as early as Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Mean­while, La Grange re­mained un­der a flood warn­ing un­til late Wed­nes­day. The area saw the Colorado crest to a his­toric 54.2 feet on Mon­day af­ter week­end storms re­lated to Har­vey dumped more than 26 inches of rain there.

On Tues­day af­ter­noon, the river re­mained as much as 17 feet above flood stage but was re­ced­ing at a steady rate. The weather ser­vice ex­pected the river to fall be­low flood stage, or 26 feet, by late Wed­nes­day morn­ing. One thing to watch for Wed­nes­day: The forecast for La Grange in­cludes a 20 to 40 per­cent chance of rain through­out the day as Har­vey, now a trop­i­cal storm, makes a sec­ond land­fall in Louisiana. In other devel­op­ments:

Austin of­fi­cials can­celed a wa­ter­way ban that was is­sued last Satur­day as Hur­ri­cane Har­vey swept into Texas. Austin’s creeks, Bar­ton Creek, Bull Creek, Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake and the Colorado River were re­opened for recre­ational use.

New Braun­fels po­lice re­opened the Co­mal and Guadalupe rivers af­ter a recre­ational ban. Of­fi­cials said mi­nor amounts of de­bris were cleared from the wa­ter­way.

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