What caused flooding in the Texas Capitol on Sunday?

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Sunday’s downpour of rain that caused flooding in the Texas Capitol’s extension was a “fluke,” according to the State Preservation Board.

Chris Currens, the director of special projects for the board, said Tuesday that the flooding was caused by one clogged storm drain pipe that filled up the gutters, which pushed water into the building. He said crews were able to extract the water in about three to four hours on Sunday afternoon.

Torrential rains brought flash flooding to portions of Austin on Sunday after nearly double the month’s worth of rain fell in less than two hours. Currens said crews regularly maintain the Capitol’s gutters, but the rate of which rain came down was enough to cause the overflow.

“Little by little one or two pieces gets in and over time you get that combined with the high rate of rainfall and you can have something like this happen,” Currens said.

He said none of the other skylights in the extension had the same issue occur, which is why he feels confident that it was just an anomaly and not a systemic problem in the building.

“[It’s] just a fluke,” he said. “Twenty years ago we had rain events very similar, high rate of rainfall, and a similar problem in a different area and it’s not unlikely to happen.”

Currens said there does not seem to be lasting damage from the rainfall, but said they are continuing to dry out the carpet, office furniture and personal belongings that got wet.

The drain that was clogged has been cleared out. Currens said he does not anticipate issues with expected rainfall this week, and assures the public that the Preservation Board will be prepared in the event of future floods.

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