Seadrift warming center

Jacob Benjamin, 63, of Port Lavaca, gets some food that was laid out for the public at the Seadrift Civic Center. Benjamin and many others were sheltered inside the center due the freezing weather that hit Monday. (Jared Van Epps/Wave Photo)

Devastating winter storms have impacted the state of Texas has affected many parts of Calhoun County, including Seadrift.

The city of Seadrift was the first in the county to open its civic center, according to Seadrift Police Chief Leonard Bermea.

There was food, water, cots in place for the people of Seadrift who needed stay over night from upcoming freezing weather.

“This department had experience because of hurricanes, we just basically did the same thing we opened the civic center for anyone that either needed to charge their phones, warm up or get a hot meal that were being delivered.” Bermea said.

The center was open for residents and people outside of the city including pets, Bermea said.

We have one gentleman from Port Lavaca that was brought in because of the Port Lavaca shelter wouldn't accept his pet.” So that's why he's here. So,he was delivered over here by Port Lavaca PD.” Bermea said.

Twenty-three residents and councilwoman June Cantrell have been at the civic center, including a dozen more spending the night in center.

During her time living in Seadrift, Cantrell said this was the worst weather experience she has witnessed with the exception of Hurricane Harvey, she said.

In a recent update from Seadrift Mayor Elmer DeForest, the power has been restored in some parts of the city, but there is still no water as the city continues to repair water main breaks and rgenerators.

Cantrell currently doesn’t have water in her home, but has electricity running.

“I went back yesterday thinking maybe I could go back, but there's no water at all,” Cantrell said. “And I'm not sure what the state of my pipes are. I left everything running. But there was actually ice in the sinks where it was running, and it quit running.”

Bermea and his department was ready for this winter weather to hit Seadrift; Bermea grew up in the state of Wisconsin and knew what kind of damage this weather was going to do.

Bermea talked to Mayor DeForest about the effects from the weather and the dangers caused.

“We're going to have loss of electricity; we're possibly going to lose water.” Bermea told DeForest. “And sure enough, we did. And we have so many other communities, Victoria was in a better spot than we were. And now we are actually in a way better spot than they are.”

That Saturday before the storm, Bermea gathered his officers and “all agreed” they would be on call 24/7, he said.

“During that meeting. I contacted the mayor and let him know. Listen, we're going to open up the Civic Center.” Bermea said. “We're going to do all these things. We're going to contact the state emergency management and get a bunch of supplies.”

DeForest would later issue a Winter Storm Disaster Declaration, Bermea said.

Richard Slate Jr., a resident of Seadrift, has been in the shelter in Civic Center since Monday, and was really impressed of the work by Seadrift PD on prepping for this weather.

“It’s great. Couldn’t done without them, especially our chief [of police] and the chief of the fire department and everybody helped.” Slate said.

In the first day of the shelter, it was completely full, Slate said., and he added when the power came back on people started going home, but their water was still frozen.

Just like Harvey in 2017, the community got together during that hardship and once again the community of Seadrift and people outside of the city are helping out.

“When the hurricane hit, the community came together massively, and we just did it again.” Bermea said. “Seadrift is a very tight knit community, because we're 15- 20 miles away from any other city, so they're very tight knit community.”

If there is someone that needs help, “someone” in the community will step up, Bermea said.

Seadrift Police is currently updating its Facebook page, and Bermea expects one more night of this freezing weather.

“If everybody can just band together for this one last day Seadrift PD would really appreciate it.” Bermea said.