AUSTIN, Texas - Video shows how the Texas State Capitol steps Sunday afternoon looked more like a waterfall than an entranceway.
Inside, water could also be seen falling into the extension. Seals to the east side atrium had failed. In a matter of minutes a little more than an inch of water was pooling up in the lower extension, with most in the southwest corner between the 200 and 300 hallways.
"Last night, it was all hands on deck," said Chris Currens with the state preservation board.
Work crews were called in. Special vacuums removed the water. "Facilities and housekeepers here at the Capitol did a great job working all night long to get the water removed and office furniture out. When the members got back today, they could start business as usual," said Currens.
Most offices were high and dry, but water did get into four of them. Furniture was stacked and moved in offices for state Reps. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) and Celia Israel (D-Austin). A maintenance crew member with a leaf blower could be seen working around the atrium Monday morning.
It was determined that the drainage area and gutter pipes clogged up during the Sunday storm. That allowed rain water to build up and get through the metal framing.
"The extension is essentially a big basement. There are a lot of areas, like this one, where water can get in. All it takes is one small crack to have a big problem."
"This is not the first flood that they have had … 3 times …this is not the worst," said Gregory Taylor who is part of the capitol maintenance team.
Taylor and other preservation board employees have learned to move fast when bad weather moves in. Soggy ceiling tiles were replaced with new ones. Fans were set up in two hallways to dry out carpet. An assessment of sheetrock is expected to follow. After that, a damage assessment will be calculated.
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