Bandera, TX Flooding Ravages Texas Hill Country, Aug 1978

Flood Scene



Bandera, Texas (AP) -- Rampaging flood waters fed by 14 inches of overnight rain gained new strength in the central Texas hill country today and officials said 15 persons had lost their lives. Hundreds fled their homes and damage estimates mounted.
Officer BILL FACKELMAN of the Kerrville police said today that scattered reports came in "all night long" about deaths and missing persons.
"We've got nine (bodies) out of Bandera, four out of Comfort and two out of Center Point," FACKELMAN said. He said at least nine persons were missing from Center Point and Comfort.
The waters of the Upper Guadalupe River reached new crests today, even as authorities were still trying to locate persons missing from Wednesday's flooding.
The National Weather Service in San Antonio warned residents of the Guadalupe flood plains to evacuate a 20-mile area. About 200 persons were forced to leave Kerrville and nearby Ingram on Wednesday night.
The torrential rains spawned by tropical storm Amelia caused rivers to surge from their banks into riverfront communities and campsites early Wednesday.
Humble homes and exclusive dude ranches, alike, were ravaged, and the LBJ ranch was turned into a swamp.
In a region where residents recently worried about drought, one river rose 10 feet in one hour, submerging a highway bridge.
Heavy rains that hit the area Tuesday and Wednesday turned several normally placid rivers into surging death traps. In a 48-hour period ending Wednesday night, Kerrville had received 22 inches of rain.
The flooding devastated much of Bandera, Comfort and Medina.
Kerrville resembled a war zone as National Guard troops, Army and state police helicopters and scores of police deposited stunned refugees at evacuation centers.
Telephone communications were severely hampered in the stricken areas and it was difficult to account for residents and visitors. Many officials feared the death toll would rise.
Children rescued from the Serendip Camp on the Medina River were taken to the Pipe Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Refugees from Camp
Bandina were taken to a church in Bandera.
National Guardsmen forded a stream late Wednesday night to rescue 156 girls from the isolated Herman-Scott camp. The girls were taken to a high school in Comfort where they were reunited with their families.
Early today the Texas Department of Public Safety reported the Guadalupe River rose 10 feet in one hour, covering a highway bridge on highway 281, about 40 miles north of San Antonio.
Gov. DOLPH BRISCOE asked that all three counties be declared disaster areas and made eligible for emergency assistance funds and programs.
CLARIBEL LOVELACE, 80, built her sturdy rock house in 1934, a respectful 700 yards from the sometimes stormy Medina River. On Wednesday the Medina paid a terrifying visit -- with eight feet of churning, muddy floodwaters.
If left MRS. LOVELACE gasping for breath for two hours. But she survived.
"My mouth was against the ceiling and my hair was in the water," said the frightened MRS. LOVELACE, who was plucked from the water by rescuers in an Army helicopter. "I only had six inches of air to breathe."
Entrances to the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall were blocked by the raging floodwaters of the Pedernales River. Rising waters failed to reach the house, but came within feet of the stone fence circling the family cemetery where the late President Lyndon B. Johnson is buried.

Indiana Gazette Pennsylvania 1978-08-03

The following is from The Paris News Texas 1978-08-04
Late Thursday, authorities listed 15 persons confirmed dead.
They were:
BERTHA LOUISE BAUM, 80, of Abilene.
MRS. KING BUCHANAN, 70, of Bandera.
ANTONIO MORALES, 83, of Comfort.
JOHNNY C. PICKETT, 60, of Center Point.
MRS. JOHNNY C. PICKETT, 60, Center Point.
MRS. CLAUDIA LIVINGSTON, 70, of Center Point.
RITCHIE CARLSON, 7, of Center Point.
TIMOTHY KLENSTEIN, 28, of Comfort.
DAVID SANCHEZ, 11, Bandera.
BONNIE BRIDGES, 11, of Center Point.
ALAN JONES, age unknown, of Bremond.
ARNOLD ERVIN WATSON, 44, of Bremond.
RICHARD BRIDGES, 12, of Center Point.
MRS. HELEN L. WOODS, 53, Comfort.
An 18-month-old infant, last name McCABE.


One of many....

Camp Serendip - Aug. 3th
I remember waking up and watching the river rising. It was rising so fast, that by the time I came back to the cabin It was too late to get our bags. The cabin was being washed away, then split into splinters into a huge oak tree. Then our counselor’s car was sucked into the white waters that was used to be the river. This all happened in about 60 seconds.
We were the first year they had boys at this camp. Our cabin was near the river. We woke everybody up and headed up hill. The water was surrounding our peak. In Between the Boeing CH-47 Chinook flying in and Fire Dep. we barely escaped with our lives. I will never FORGET. I was 9 years old, by two days (Aug 1st). I lost all my birthday presents, but I was glad to be alive.!

I was there.

The 156 campers were not all girls and the name of the camp was Hermann-Sons, not Hermann-Scott. It's still there. I was a 10-year-old camper at the Riverside camp. They woke us early Wednesday morning by banging on trashcans and yelling, "Get up! Get up! The river is flooding!" They threw open the doors and water rushed in - slowly at first, like someone left a bathtub running - but it was about ankle deep by the time I got going. I grabbed my suitcase next to my bunk but it was unlatched and all my belongings spilled out onto the floor. They evacuated us from the camp to the Altenheim {Old Folks Home) up on the hill behind the camp. My grandfather left work in Boerne and took the back way through Bandera and Center Point to get to Comfort since the interstate was closed. He got there about noon and my buddy Michael and I were out before the National Guard ever got there.