Water can't be pumped out in East El Paso County; info included on flood shelters

POSTED: 06:32 PM MDT Sep 12, 2013    UPDATED: 12:55 PM MST Jan 16, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

El Paso County Sheriff's officials said Thursday that there was no place to release water that could be pumped out of flooded areas because nearly all of east El Paso County remained flooded.

Spokeswoman Angelica Becerra said only two Lower Valley Water District trucks were pumping out water in the area surrounding San Elizario schools so that children could cross the street once released from class. Water District officials said the water would be released into nearby drainage ditches.

Sheriff Richard Wiles said all levees in the area were already at capacity and officials are concerned more rain could create even more problems for residents.

One Clint man, Jesse Garcia, woke up to water seeping into his home. The rain water in his yard was nearly two feet deep.

He and his wife quickly drove to El Paso to buy a $400 pump. But when they returned home, they learned they couldn't use it because the arroyo close to their home was also full and the arroyo's infrastructure was damaged.

The Sheriff's Office, Border Patrol and the Lower Valley Water District have set up a command center inside the San Elizario District offices on Chicken Ranch road to take flood-related phone calls. To call the command center, dial 546-2280. However, for people with emergencies, officials advise calling 911.

Thursday afternoon, Becerra said no people had so far been evacuated from homes in San Elizario and Clint. However, some residents in Socorro did have to leave their homes because of rising flood waters.

Officials have set up an emergency shelter in the Socorro Community Center on 960 Rio Vista Road. The American Red Cross is staffing the shelter and have cots, blankets and other supplies to those affected by flooding.

In Clint and San Elizario, Becerra said San Elizario High School and the Clint Fire Department will serve as emergency shelters if they're needed.