No flooding reported in Valley, but power outage hit San Benito hard

Overnight storms brought the lightning but damage for residents in the Rio Grande Valley was minimal, officials said Tuesday.

Unofficial rain totals put Brownsville at around 3 inches of rain, Harlingen at 1.5 inches and McAllen at just under an inch, but no flooding was reported.

The worst damage from the storm was the inconvenience of power outages, and San Benito was particularly hard-hit.

“Especially in San Benito, we had a major power outage,” said Tom Hushen, Cameron County Emergency Management Coordinator. “In fact, the school district shut down and didn’t open up today. I’m going to say it happened about 4:30 or 4 in the morning and it lasted all the way until about 9.”

“We heard that it was going to take most of the morning to get it fixed,” he added. “Apparently something may have been hit by lightning at the AEP Center and the breakers all blew and they were turning them on slowly.”

By 10:30 a.m. there were only about 50 AEP Texas customers in the Valley still without power Tuesday. Magic Valley Electric Cooperative reported about 60 customers, mostly in Cameron County, without electricity.

But problems were persisting in some parts of San Benito into late morning, Hushen said.

“Probably at about 9 o’clock half the city came back on, and as I’m driving through right now, it’s still got Sam Houston (Boulevard) out,” Hushen said in an interview about 10 a.m.

The prospect of flooding was in the forecast overnight, but Hushen said that proved not to be a problem.

“We’ve been out since 5 in the morning and we haven’t seen any flooding,” he said.

What rainfall there was managed to spread itself out over several hours.

“It’s always best for us when it does that,” Hushen said. “When you get three inches in 30 minutes or an hour, then we have some major flooding.”