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San Antonio saw heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms throughout the city on Monday morning. A flash flood warning has been issued for Bexar County until 12.15 p.m. on Aug. 7, according to Aaron Treadway with the National Weather Service.
The San Antonio Fire Department reported at least five structural fires caused by lightning strikes on Monday. One building struck was the Moye Retreat Center in Castroville, an active center operated by the Sisters of Divine Providence.
“Apparently lightning hit the metal roof, knocked off the steeple, and blew a hole in the roof,” said Director of Mission Support Mary Anne Votion. “It set the interior of the building on fire. The fire department is still on scene. They think the fire is out, but there’s still smoke coming out of the hole.”
The weekend retreat center was not in use at the time of the lightning strike, and no injuries have been reported at this time. The organization expects to have a full report on the damage from Fire Marshals within 24 hours.
Around 11 a.m., emergency crews responded to a driver whose car was mostly submerged on Pinn Road near U.S. Highway 151 on the city’s Westside, as shown in footage on News 4 San Antonio’s Facebook page. Nearby on West Commerce Street and West Military Drive, a woman standing on top of her car was brought to safety by members of SAFD’s water rescue team.
A rescue unit used a boat to cross the flooded street and rescue her.
Reports show that San Antonio received around 2 to 3 inches of rain throughout the morning, with isolated pockets of up to 5 inches, according to the National Weather Service. At 9:20 a.m., the San Antonio International Airport had received 2.8 inches of rainfall since midnight. Stinson Municipal Airport reports receiving 3 inches in the same time frame.
Officials have reported low level flooding in various areas throughout the city. Drivers who come across a flooded low-level intersection are instructed to turn around.
San Antonio Police Department Spokesman Officer Doug Greene stated that although major roadways such as Interstate 35 South are shut down due to lower level flooding, the incident at Pinn Road and 151 has been the only major accident reported at this time.
“San Antonians are driving very responsibly,” Greene told the Rivard Report over the phone Monday morning.
The department received several calls for at least 15 stalled vehicles.
Woody Woodward, public relations manager for the San Antonio Fire Department, reported five homes struck by lighting and several reports of high water areas.
The Leon Valley Fire Department posted on its Facebook that conditions are Red, the most severe, on its Flood Emergency Response Plan. The department reported the closure of Evers and Poss Roads and encouraged residents of low lying areas to seek shelter, noting that several homes have already been evacuated.
According to Treadway, today’s rainfall is coming close to surpassing a daily record set in 1974. On this day 43 years ago, San Antonio received a record 2.94 inches of rainfall throughout the area.