New Tropical Threat Brings Flooding Fears to Precinct 1

Floodwater left behind from Hurricane Alex snaked through hundreds of feet of hose along Mile 14 near FM 88 on Monday north of Weslaco. Hidalgo County Precinct 1 workers shoveled holes nearby to allow any standing water to be pumped away from properties like Sesario Alvarez's home. "You couldn't see the grass," Alvarez said. His property turned into a virtual swamp after Hurricane Alex hit last Wednesday. "There was no water here...after 4 hours... it came backing up... and started going in to my house," he said. There was nothing he could do. "I had sandbags, Alvarez explained. But that didn't help." His home was left with about $7000 in flood damages, according to Alvarez. "Furniture, carpets... stove... washer, dryer, a refrigerator," he listed. Alvarez fears another tropical system like the possible one brewing in the Caribbean could leave his property in ruins if it should hit the Valley. "I'm concerned, he said. All people should be concerned." Arnulfo Sustaita, who TMs a county worker for Precinct 1, called Alvarez TMs fear justified. He said the emotion was echoed by many and added how there was a real fear across the county. "Yes there is... we're working 24 hours... we have to continue working like this," Sustaita said. But the county worker also believed the problem stemmed from a lack of pumps in place before the storm hit to push floodwaters away. "Right now we have pumps on the levees... pumping water out of the main ditches... over the levees... over if the levees are full also... so we're doing our best," he said. Sustaita hopes with those pumps already in place, it could alleviate future flooding from another tropical system. Alvarez is less optimistic. "It's going to happen| the same thing.