By Dave Rogers / For The Record

 

The lights and air conditioning have come back on in most of Bridge City and Jerry Jones sees no reason for folks to talk about the big E.

As in evacuation.

“The city of Bridge City is not calling for an evacuation. Repeating, no evacuation for the City of Bridge City is in effect,” was the message posted on the city’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon.

Entergy Texas reported that only about 750 of the 25,000 customer outages reported in Orange County Friday were in Bridge City.

“Electricity is back on in most of our homes,” Jones said. “There are very few pockets they haven’t gotten to yet.”

While a voluntary evacuation was called for a limited Orange County population Tuesday and made mandatory Thursday for those same residents in northwest and northeast edges of the county, Jones and the city advocate that Bridge City residents wait out the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey at home.

“The biggest problem is if you call a mandatory evacuation, or even voluntary, it’s extremely hard to get out of here,” he said. “We decided to just leave it up to individual person what they want to do.

“We don’t want to try to make people leave that really don’t want to.”

Jones guessed that more than 1,000 homes sustained major water damage as a result of the 20 or so inches of rain dumped overnight Tuesday.

“The majority of people are not [flooded], but there are quite a few who are flooded,” Jones said. “We really can’t get around to give an estimate, but I’d guess it’s over 1,000.”

Mayor David Rutledge, in an update posted Friday morning on the city’s Facebook page, was optimistic about water flowing downriver into Bridge City.

“The water level of Cow Bayou continues to slowly recede,” he said.

While noting the Sabine River continues to receive releases from Toledo Bend, “the release rate is only about one-third of the rate of the Spring of 2016,” he said, “and Bridge City saw negligible effects from that release.”

Rutledge said because of the presence of Sabine Lake and the marshes, the effect of reservoir releases into the Neches River “should be negligible as well.

“So water-wise, we’re in pretty good shape,” he said.

For safety sake, Bridge City has implemented an 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. curfew.

While no one’s predicting when “normal” will return, Thursday’s sunshine buoyed everyone’s spirit.

“What we want to happen is for the water to recede so we can get around and check everything so we can start the healing process,” Jones said.