Logan Natives Caught In Texas Floods

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AUSTIN – Memorial Day was certainly a memorable day for Bryce Bumgardner, a 2007 Logan High School graduate. The young man witnessed the severe flooding in Austin, Texas, that swept away picnic tables, trash dumpsters and vehicles, and left many automobiles submerged as a result of a flash flood that dumped six inches of rain in the Austin area.

Bumgardner, now lives in Austin, was at work at Fresa’s Chicken restaurant when the flash flood occurred. He serves as the front house manager at the restaurant on Lamar Boulevard, which is close to Shoal Creek that flows into Lady Bird Lake.

“It looked like ground zero in downtown Austin,” Bumgardner said. “Shoal Creek runs north to south of the city of Austin and after the flash flood – it looked like a river running down the street. Because we had already had several consecutive days of rain when the flash flood hit – the water simply had nowhere to go. As I watched the flood waters flow onto the street from the restaurant – I can recall thinking – it looks like the Hocking River,” he added.

He said the employees watched as their vehicles parked across the street were overturned or submerged in water.

“One of our employee’s car was swept away and a large trash dumpster was slammed against it along the creek bank, while other employees’ vehicles were completely submerged including our restaurant’s catering van.

“The restaurant suffered structural damage on the exterior of the building but luckily only six inches of water entered the restaurant and I am happy to report that our refrigeration and electrical components remained unscathed and believe it or not – we did not lose power. It seemed as if everything around us lost electricity but somehow ours managed to stay on,” he explained.

Bumgardner said that they were also fortunate – even though the employees were stranded in the restaurant – they had a second floor on the building so since they had somewhere to keep safe – they did not have to be rescued by boat.

“We just had to stay put and play the waiting game until the water receded, which actually only took about four hours, but then the entire street and sidewalks were a muddy mess, but we still managed to reopen the restaurant the next day,” he added.

Bumgardner said that he has never experienced anything like the flash flood. “We were in awe of the power of the water as it closed in around us very quickly and now I understand that we are still under a threat of more rain. And since my car was submerged I am without a vehicle as well. But the good news is that to my knowledge no one in our immediate area was hurt – so that is a blessing.

“Austin is located about two hours away from Houston, and from the looks of things they have gotten hit worse than we did and our thoughts and prayers are with the people who were injured or killed and it is sad to know that there are still people unaccounted for,” he said.

Tammy Spring, resident of Logan and operations manager for Digital Works, was flying to Texas for business last Sunday. On Memorial Day, she was traveling south on state Route 77 from Waco, Texas, to Schulenburg.

“High winds, severe thunderstorms, tornados, flash flooding and a lightning show unlike anything that I had ever witnessed before – kept me company for over four hours. Signs of massive flooding were everywhere. Side streets were totally underwater and the main roads were littered with fallen trees, standing water and other debris. Although I should have been petrified I drove on with indescribable sense of peace. I was thankful that I was merely the co-pilot…and God was in control,” Spring explained.

She said that at one point she looked off to the left and saw a huge tree that had been uprooted and landed on top of a house earlier that afternoon.

“In addition streams crested and then proceeded to overflow into the surrounding areas – entire fields disappeared and were replaced with raging waters. As I approached my final destination, a beautiful rainbow emerged. I pulled over and stopped just long enough to snap a picture and sent a prayer for all of the people affected by the events of the day,” she added.

Spring said that she believed she was truly blessed to be able to make it safely to Schulenburg, Texas, where they launched the first Digital Works class at Blinn College on Tuesday.

“The first night of class, one of the students informed us that a friend of theirs had lost over 100 head of cattle in the flood waters. Other people in class reported they knew residents who had been evacuated in the Austin area due to the Bastrop State Park dam failure.

“Everyone was stunned by the course of events – yet were humbled, ready and willing to help one another put the pieces back together again. My heart goes out to the people of Texas and our new Digital Works family and friends in Schulenburg,” she concluded.