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One Year Ago, Hearne's Skies Opened Up

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As the city's motto says, Hearne is the Crossroads of Texas. But one year ago, in a flash, 17 inches flooded those roads and the buildings that line them.

"It will probably take about five years to totally overcome the flood," said City Manager Ric Walton, "assuming there's no major natural disaster in that same period of time."

Of the nearly $2 million of damage Hearne suffered, $350,000 was on washed-out bridges, four in all, including the Hackberry, where repairs are about two weeks away from being completed. The state was only able to send $350,000 to Hearne, meaning the city has to foot the bill for the rest of the repairs.

But according to Walton, taxes will not be raised. Instead, they'll divert funds from other projects to work on infrastructure.

"It's a matter of priority, and of course, to keep the flooding down, or the chance for flooding, improving drainage is a very high priority."

"I feel like, if another bad one comes, we'll be flooded again," said resident Mattie McCoslin.

"I've been down to city hall on several occasions, saying to do this, do that, and trying to get them to work with us," said Reverend Larry Blackmon of the city's First Baptist Church, who was also affected by the flood waters.

Residents in the hardest hit areas mark the anniversary with water marks still on the walls. Most are frustrated with the city, the speed of the repairs, and are scared another flood might happen. Most did not have flood insurance. Some still don't. They dip into their savings to repair and replace. Retirement, for many, has been pushed back. It's quite the sour note, but damaged pianos and frayed nerves haven't broken this community.

"The community came together as one," said McCoslin, "and we were all visiting each other, seeing if everyone was OK. And that means a lot to you."

But they look to the skies and to the forecast, waiting for the inevitable.

"When we get our six inch rain, we'll see if we flood again," said Blackmon. "If we don't we'll feel better."