FAYETTE COUNTY, Texas — Severe weather and rainfall continues to hit central Texas counties. Most of the area is no longer seeing drought conditions, but the heavy saturation worries Fayette County leaders.
"This is the wettest May we have ever had, maybe the wettest month we've ever had, including Hurricane Harvey, when it comes to the end of it and we finally start getting those tallies up," Fayette County Emergency Management Chief Craig Moreau said.
As a response to the severe weather emergencies over the past few years, including Hurricane Harvey and the February 2021 winter storms, the County created its first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
"You got to have supplies on hand just in case the worst happens," Ken Powell, one of the first members of Fayette County CERT, said. "You pray for the best and hope you don't have the worst. That comes under the heading of maybe keeping extra water around and because you never know what the needs will be."
Powell said he was invited to join CERT. His home in Fayette County went relatively untouched during Hurricane Harvey. He jokes he slept through most of the storms that buffeted the county over the past few weeks, flooding roads, washing out bridges and blowing down decades-old oak trees.
"When the ground gets that saturated, the trees come over easily. When the trees come over, they can trap people in cars, trap people in their homes," Moreau said. "You know, we've had tons of lightning. We've had lightning strikes. We've had tornadoes. I mean, all these things can cause a lot of devastation. You know, property we can repair, but people we can't."
Moreau said the volunteer group will help first responders if emergencies start to get overwhelming or get drawn out.
"They can do minor bandaging and splinting and be that really stopgap when we're having trouble elsewhere," Moreau said. "CERT team members are excellent logistics, excellent knowing where resources are and getting them to the people that need them."
While the team has only just started practicing together, Powell thinks they're just about ready in case they get called upon as rain continues to fall across the county.
"I think it's going to take an episode or so to really get prepared," Powell said. "It's just like training for anything. If that was your first game, which is what that would be to us, you're in a learning experience."
Moreau hopes to add another 30 to 40 people to the county's CERT by the end of the year.
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