Many San Marcos residents fled their homes early Sunday morning to escape record flooding.
Heavy rains damaged much of San Marcos, sweeping away cars and damaging homes and apartment complexes. Some residents were transported to evacuation centers while others waited for rescue in their homes. The flooding left one San Marcos man dead and three others missing.
Ruby Griffin, a resident at Allen Woods Homes, said she woke up around 1:30 a.m. to the sound of her neighbor knocking on the door.
“I open up the front door and I look out and there’s the river where my porch is supposed to be at,” Griffin said. “I step out and look out the corner because my car is parked right there, and the water is up to the windshield.”
Griffin said she ran back into the house to wake her two children.
“I was freaking out,” Griffin said. “I was so scared.”
After grabbing her kids, pets and a few essentials, Griffin ran to the backdoor to meet her neighbor.
“(My neighbor) said ‘We got to go, they got a bus and I’m making them wait for you,’” Griffin said.
Seconds after opening her back door, the water had risen to ankle depth throughout Griffin’s three-bedroom apartment.
Griffin and her family were taken by bus a little after 2 a.m. to the San Marcos Activity Center, an evacuation center.
David Soto, Texas State alumnus, said he knew something was wrong around 1:30 a.m. when he could smell the river from his fourth-floor balcony at Aspen Heights Apartments.
Soto said he began knocking on neighbors’ doors to warn them of rising waters after he noticed flooding in the apartment’s parking lot.
Soto opened his apartment to first-floor residents when the power went out at 2 a.m. Many asked to store vulnerable property and electronics in Soto’s fourth-floor unit.
Water levels rose to about one foot on the first story, Soto said.
Soto tracked the water levels throughout the night on his phone and gave updates to neighbors. Without power, Soto kept his phone charged with battery from his laptop.
“People were waking up and trying to figure out what the hell was going on,” Soto said.
Apartment residents attempted to move cars to an elevated corner of the parking lot to prevent flood damage. By 4 a.m., the Blanco River had risen to thigh-height outside, washing many vehicles from their parking spots, he said.
Bettijean O’Dell, an Aspen Heights Apartments first-floor resident, said she did not plan on spending another night in the complex with more rains forecasted for Sunday night.
O’Dell said she was disappointed with the complex’s lack of concern for residents. Residents received a text message slightly before 1 a.m. warning them of the flood, hours after the water had swamped the complex. The text message advised residents to call 911 if there was an emergency.
Police and rescue personnel were only able to reach the apartments after 5 a.m. when water levels dropped, O’Dell said.
“(The water) was so deep they couldn’t reach us,” O’Dell said. “I was only saved by kind neighbors banging on my door.”
The damage to the first floor was extensive, said Emily Milton, a first-floor resident at Aspen Heights Apartments.
“We have floor tiles coming up,” she said. “We have water damage on the walls. The water got in our fridge.”
Logan Presley, a Riverview Apartments resident, said his roommate woke him around 3 a.m.
“I live on River Road, which has now become a river,” Presley said.
Water had risen to the second stair of his apartment staircase, he said.
Presley said he was happy to have bought renter’s insurance on a whim less than a month ago.
-All photos are courtesy of Top Prop Aerial.