Pictured is a partially submerged trailer sitting on property off of County Road 362. "For sale" signs hang on the front fence of the property. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Choke Canyon water level is still at 100 percent of capacity, officials said

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

On Tuesday, large white birds and other waterfowl perched on posts jutting out of a small lake in northern Jim Wells County.

Occasionally they'd fly off to feed on insects and return again to the posts. It was quiet over the water, and the dark clouds overhead were full. And the smell of impending rain was in the air.

When the thunder struck, the birds flew off to the right, passing a partially submerged trailer home.

The perches were fence posts, the new lake was actually County Road 362 near Sandia, and the trailer was once a place called home for someone now long gone.

The waters are still high for several residents of the Sandia area off of Farm-to-Market Road 1540.

With releases from Choke Canyon and with the lake brimming at capacity, county officials said this, along with the continual rain, has caused persistent flooding.

"Choke Canyon was at 100 percent, and with releases there and the water level at the lake, the rainy conditions have kept up the water level on several of these roads," Precinct 3 Commissioner Oswald Alanis said. "Once the level begins to drop off, we get more rain, which just brings it up again."

County Roads 363, 362 and 375 all border the low-lying area off of Lake Corpus Christi, and are submerged by heavy rains feeding off from the lake area on its way to the bay.

Veronica Alvarado is a resident of County Road 362. She grew up in the area and recently moved back to Sandia three years ago. She said the rain and flooding they've experienced hasn't been this severe in years.

"This is really one of the bad ones. Probably the worst in the last five years," Alvarado said.

Over the years, Alvarado has seen the waters in her neighborhood rise high, and of course after the rain, she said, come the mosquitoes.

"The mosquitoes are bad at dusk, they surround you. And they're huge," Alvarado said.

Nueces County has confirmed West Nile Virus in mosquitoes and there has been a confirmed case of West Nile in a Bishop boy. Locally, officials continue to test for the virus.

But for now, the flooding persists. At the lowest point of CR 362, many of the homes are partially submerged, and bright red and white "for sale" signs cover the yards where residents decided not to put up with the water any longer.

Alvarado said that for many of the residents, flooding probably wasn't the first thing they thought of when they bought the property.

"It's not something you think about, but then the heavy rain comes and suddenly it happens,"Alvarado said. "They try to move fast to avoid the water and in the end have to replace several of their belongings. It gets very emotional. It's sad."