Austin Still Recovering From 2013 Halloween Floods

A year after a flood killed three people and damaged hundreds of central Texas homes, Austin officials are still working to buy and tear down houses considered at risk for flooding.

The 2013 Halloween floods, which reached up to 7 feet in some homes, damaged almost 660 structures in Travis County.

Some houses near Onion Creek have been abandoned by homeowners, while other residents have tried to rebuild, undeterred by the threat of future floods.

Since the floods, Austin has three times approved money to buy out homes, the Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/1toV7yJ ) reported. The funds total $129 million to purchase 486 homes.

As of late October, city spokeswoman Wendy Morgan said Austin has made offers on 116 homes and purchased 100 houses. Demolition crews have razed 63 of them, and nine more are slated to be torn down.

Mapi Vigil, managing engineer for the Watershed Protection Department, said more than 430 properties are at risk for flooding and still need to be purchased by the city.

Diana Rivera said her family survived the floods last year after her future son-in-law, Victor Arevalo, ran to the backyard and retrieved a ladder. The entire family climbed up onto the roof where they waited for the water to subside.

In the months after the flood, Rivera said she stayed with friends and family, but decided in February to rebuild her home using her flood insurance money. The city made a $127,000 offer in August to purchase her home, originally bought for $100,000, and Rivera said she'll be moving into another home in south Austin next week.

She said she struggled with the decision and felt like she was abandoning her home near Onion Creek, but the memories of the 2013 flood convinced her to take the offer.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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