As Harvey looms, S.E. Austin church concerned about flooding for the third time

The last few years, southeast Austin has been hit twice with severe flooding, reaching more than 15 feet.

AUSTIN - As Texas coastal cities brace for Hurricane Harvey, communities in Travis County are concerned about flooding.

The last few years, southeast Austin has been hit twice with severe flooding, reaching more than 15 feet. That’s why one local church is on standby, ready to dive in to help others in a neighborhood that’s still recovering.

"You look down and it's about a 20-plus feet drop,” said Pastor Mike Marcellus of First Independent Baptist Church.

He pointed out the entrance along Boggy Creek, an area that meets with Onion Creek, both next door to his church off Bluff Springs Road in southeast Austin.

"When it starts flooding and it comes up rapidly, it’s pretty scary,” he said.

Pastor Marcellus has been watching the forecast closely, bracing for heavy rains.

"It fills up, or goes about halfway we get a little nervous,” he added.

In October of 2013, First Independent Baptist Church was severely damaged. Two years later almost to the very day, it happened again. The rapid waters gutted their building.

Today, they're still working on remodeling.

"This floor is just two months old," Pastor Marcellus said. "We're about 95 percent recovered."

And his church wasn't even hit the hardest, homes got more than 10 feet of water, cars went under water and roads were shut down.

Pastor Marcellus said they can't control mother nature, but they can do their part to take care of each other in the face of danger.

"We strategized what it's going to take on what we can do, to keep us from being so devastated,” he said.  

He organized a team volunteers, all on standby if and when they're needed whether it's removing debris from yards, pulling neighbors out to safety, or providing transportation.

Church staff said they've become an even stronger community, in spite of the disaster.

“It's kind of like comparing scars," Marcellus said.

The wounds may not fully heal but neighbors can trust they won't walk alone. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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