BY DEBBIE COOPER KISTLER
THE JUNCTION EAGLE

The storm system that swept north out of Edwards County, up the South Llano River watershed area during the night of Sunday/Monday, October 7-8, 2018, dropped twelve inches of rain on already saturated ground, causing major flooding over the banks of the South Llano River. Some rural residents were trapped in their homes, in some cases requiring them to be rescued. Others awoke to find water in their homes and were able to evacuate.

There are presently three men and a woman who have not been located and are feared to have been swept away by the river. An all-out effort is being made to search for these persons. As of noon on Tuesday, the four have not been found.

The South Llano River RV Park, recently renamed Above and Beyond RV Resort, sits on the banks of the S. Llano, across the river from downtown Junction. As has happened on several previous occasions through the years, the S. Llano River raged downstream and this time, the RV park, created in recent years, was completely swamped, washing RVs and motor vehicles down stream, trapping people who sought refuge in trees in the park, and carrying some down the river. Some first responders who arrived at the scene before daylight, heard people, who they could not see in trees and on top of their RVs, calling for help.

Amazingly, a woman from Alabama who was staying at the RV park was carried about 23 river miles downstream before being rescued near Yates Crossing, cut and bruised but okay. At least two others in her group were hospitalized and are described as being “alive” but in “extremely bad condition”.

Historic crests for the Llano River were June 14,1935 (43.3 ft.), November 3, 2000 (35.08 ft.), September 8, 1980 (32.2 ft.), September 16, 1936 (32.2 ft.) and November 17, 2004 (31.47 ft.). This current flood event is ranked as the sixth highest, at 31.2 ft. Anything over 31 ft. is considered a “major flood stage”, according to the National Weather Service. Due to the forecast for more rain in the affected area on Tuesday, moderate flooding is predicted through the afternoon and evening of October 9, 2018. At press time, the river had already begun to rise.

At this time, 40 people have been evacuated and 19 people were rescued. Four people and one dog were retrieved by a DPS helicopter out of San Antonio with a Game Warden Cody Buckaloo bringing stranded people up to the helicopter on cables. Swift-water rescue teams made 15 extractions from boats.