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Flooding from Summer Thunderstorm Closes Texas Capitol

Videos posted to social media Sunday showed water pouring into sections of the Texas Capitol as a major rainstorm descended on Austin. Visitors were told that the building was closed Sunday afternoon.

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a tweet that the State Preservation Board, which oversees the Capitol, is working with the his office and agencies “to address flooding at the Capitol stemming from the current storm in Austin.”

“It’s all hands on deck,” Abbott said.

Chris Currens, director of special projects with the State Preservation Board, said a clogged storm drain caused water to back up and fill gutters, leading to overflow entering the building.

“That line’s never clogged in 30 years, but it did today,” Currens said, adding that he expects the Capitol to be open Monday when lawmakers return to work. The Legislature is in the midst of a second special session.

Water damage, including wet carpeting and furniture, was found in offices in two hallways within the Capitol extension, Currens said. According to a statement from the State Preservation Board, flooding in those areas involved less than 1 inch of water, and “recovery operations will continue throughout the evening to minimize disruptions to legislative business on Monday.”

In videos posted online from Sloan Byerly, chief of staff for state Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, water is seen pouring from the large skylights in part of the Capitol extension and pooling in hallways.

A flash flood warning was in effect for parts of Travis County on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. By 4 p.m., about 2 to 5 inches of rain had fallen across parts of the county, “with the highest amounts reported over downtown Austin,” the agency said in its flood advisory.

Disclosure: The State Preservation Board has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribunes journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This story originally appeared in the Texas Tribune. To read this article in its original format, click here.


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