EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Pasoans made nearly 3,000 calls for assistance from emergency services on Thursday night as rain from a storm flooded neighborhoods and roadways across the city.
Jorge Rodriguez, the director of the office and emergency management with the city and county, said calls came in where residents required assistance from flooding and traffic issues. He says there were a reported 106 motor vehicle accidents.
Rodriguez said the El Paso Fire Department received 33 rescue calls and 29 service calls.
“That’s double from what we normally see on a day-to-day average,” Rodriguez said of the 2,959 calls emergency services received. “If your neighborhood has the potential for flooding, if flooding is not new to your area, please make arrangements with family members or friends to find a place to stay.”
Gilbert Trejo, chief technical officer of El Paso Water, said three to four inches of rain fell in Central El Paso last night. And, a ponding area off of Interstate 10 and Durazno captured tens of millions of gallons of rainwater.
“The Gateway ponds, here behind me, did their job holding up to 50 million gallons of water,” Trujillo said. “We immediately began pumping them out throughout the morning.”
Efforts were also made to ensure the Austin and Copia ponds, and Kentucky and Louisiana dams were drained to make room for anticipated rains on Friday night.
Trejo said he witnessed large rocks and mud on Alabama street, where water streamed down from the mountain. He said crews responded to help clean up the area so vehicles could pass through.
Over $150-million in infrastructure has been built over the last 14 years, Trejo added. He said El Paso Water has used the funds to build ponding areas like the one near Gateway and the Spaghetti Bowl among other projects in Central.
“I-10 was flooded yesterday, along Copia. That is a site that needs a lot more work,” he said. “That is something we have been talking about for several years.”
He said improvements can still be overwhelmed by the severe rainfall that El Paso saw on Thursday night.