Gregg County declares state of disaster after major flooding, road closures and water rescue

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Gregg County had major flooding on several highly traveled roads, including a water rescue off Highway 31 and Spur 63. Heavy rainfall created flash flooding and damage through out the streets of Longview and Kilgore. Longview declared a state of disaster, while Kilgore declared state of emergency. On Wednesday morning, Longview officials performed a water rescue and closed down over 30 roads due to flooding.
 
Joshua Tubb, Gregg County Sheriff Public Information Officer said, “We’ve had a series of roads that are flooded. We are constantly updating the media when we have new closures. We actually had someone that ended up in a flooded ditch by going through a flooded roadway. Longview Fire Department had to come out and do a water rescue on that.”
 
One Longview resident witnessed the man drive straight into the flooded area on Spur 63 and South Street. Paul Rowland, a Longview Resident and witness said, “He was stuck in there and they had to come out and get him out, and put a life jacket on him to pull him out.”
 
Officials are warning people to avoid driving in this weather, altogether. But if you happen to drive upon a flooded area, they say ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown.’
 
“We had water over Highway 31 in between Tyler and Longview. We had water over several locations in between Gladewater and Kilgore. All over the county we are having reports of water over roadways. Just try to find alternate routes, it’s not worth it to try and drive through it,” said Tubb.
 
Kilgore evacuated over 10 homes. One resident on Crimwood Lane said they haven’t seen rainfall like this in over a decade.
 
James Whisenhunt, a Kilgore Resident said, “We have lived here for 11 years on this street, this is the first time it’s come out of the banks like this that we’re aware of. We woke up this morning, it started right there, coming up over the bridge, then the streets got flooded.”
 
East Texas officials want to remind people that their life is more important that anything else. Longview Animal Control wants to remind everyone to take care of their pets and keep them dry, especially in flooding weather. For more updates on road closures in Gregg County, you can find a full list on www.longviewtexas.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=496

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