In the wake of the Oct. 30 flash flood, some Bobcats found themselves forced to evacuate their apartments in order to dodge the rising water and get to higher ground.
The Grove, The Woods and Blanco River Village were some of the apartment complexes evacuated to bring residents to safety. Some students ended up stuck in their homes.
Alexandra Denkowski, exercise and sports science senior, was stranded at The Woods apartment complex, which borders the San Marcos River. For Denkowski and her roommates, all they could do was wait for the waters to pass or do damage.
“We got a text from The Woods saying the city was forcing us to evacuate, but all the roads to leave the apartment complex were completely flooded,” Denkowski said. “We were completely stranded and the water from the river behind us was quickly rising.”
Denkowski said the water on the IH-35 frontage road was touching the bottom of the bridge used to reach the apartment complex. Even if she and her roommates had wanted to leave and seek shelter, they physically couldn’t escape the island that was their apartment complex.
As they waited, the water from the river continued to rise, almost reaching the apartments located on the riverbank.
On the other side of the complex, Denkowski could see Blanco Gardens across the street, which was completely flooded with water.
Denkowski said she could see a bulldozer driving around with kids hanging on inside, as the driver picked up as many people as he could off the streets to avoid the current.
A dump truck was picking up those who were stuck in their homes, she said.
“Luckily, we live on the second floor, so after a few hours we knew we were safe,” Denkowski said. “The Woods told us to evacuate, but it was too late. I’m just happy we didn’t get hit.”
On the other end of town, Kristi Welsh, biology sophomore, woke up at 7 a.m. to her roommates at The Grove apartment complex telling her a tornado was headed their way.
“We watched the radar to see where it was while being bombarded with phone calls from our parents about what was going on,” Welsh said.
All four roommates hid in the hallway, away from any windows, and waited for the tornado to pass.
Once the tornado passed, Welsh checked the status of the parking lot, where water was starting to rise.
“My car is electric, so if it continued to rise, the car would have been destroyed,” Welsh said. “I moved my car as quickly as I could to higher ground. My roommates and I all ran to our cars with water above our knees, and still rising.”
Midafternoon came and Welsh received a text from The Grove management saying they needed to evacuate. The highway was backed up for miles making it difficult for the roommates to get to safety.
“It took us that long to get from The Grove to Aquarena Springs, which is less than one exit away,” Welsh said of the group’s hour and a half wait in traffic. “It was insane, but to kill time, my roommate and I ate a tub of ice cream together.”
Cheyenne Watson, communication disorders sophomore, was forced to evacuate from her apartment at Blanco River Village in order to escape floodwaters.
Watson said there is a soccer field at the complex that is used as a flood basin in the event of heavy rain.
The soccer field is lower than the surrounding area, allowing water to collect when it rains in an attempt to ease flooding.
During the Memorial Day weekend flooding, Watson said her apartment was fine although parts of the city were underwater.
“We didn’t take the flood warning that seriously this time around, especially with the soccer field to help out the progress,” Watson said. “When we left to the store to buy food just in case we became stuck that night, I noticed the soccer field was more than halfway filled.”
Coming home from their errands, Watson and her boyfriend drove by the Blanco River to find it was almost at full capacity. When Watson got home, she saw people around her complex beginning to evacuate.
“We only had around 10 minutes to get the dogs ready and pack our clothes,” she said.
With a race against the clock, Watson, her boyfriend and their dogs made it out safely.
“You’re never prepared for these kinds of situations, and when they hit, it can be very scary and unreal,” Watson said. “A lot of students don’t have family near this area, so many people like myself were forced to stay and hope everything would be okay in the end.”