Memorial Déjà vu: Brazos River delivers repeat of last year with massive floods
The Brazos River rose above record levels Monday night and continues to rise, causing flooding in Fort Bend and neighboring counties that is as widespread as the floods were a year ago on Memorial Day weekend.
According to the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management, the river is already two feet over the record in Simonton, a level not seen in over 50 years.
“The river is already two feet higher in Simonton than it was in the 1994 floods,” said Mark Vogler, Chief Engineer for Fort Bend County, “the river has been rising steadily overnight in Simonton.”
“All this water is moving downstream through the rest of the county now. Areas along the river that flooded in 1994 will probably flood again – with even greater severity –as we approach the National Weather Service’s forecast of 53.5 feet.” adds Jeff Braun, Emergency Management Coordinator. “A number of rescues occurred (Monday), with more expected now in the daylight hours.”
Twenty-six people were rescued in rescue operations conducted near Simonton.
As the river levels rise, so has the flow rate of the floodwater. The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management has worked with Texas Task Force 1 to stage additional swiftwater rescue and Urban Search and Rescue teams at the County Fairgrounds in anticipation of additional rescues throughout the duration of this event.
Mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been ordered in parts of Fort Bend County along the river, and it is likely that more will follow.
“Residents are underestimating the severity of this event,” said Braun, “just because you haven’t been ordered to evacuate doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave or prepare. It is the responsibility of everybody to take necessary action to protect their lives and property. The fact is that the river is forecasted to rise three feet above the observed 1994 levels, which is water the county has not seen in many of our lifetimes.”
The Fort Bend County Drainage District and the levee operators are working together and monitoring levee status and the levees are working as designed. Levee operators are activating their Emergency Action Plans as appropriate.
Residents should continue monitoring the river by visiting fortbendcountytx.gov/riverlevels, and keep themselves informed by visiting the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management website, local media, and official County social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The City of Richmond has closed the following streets within the city limits; the dip at Newton Drive, Avenue A at Riveredge, Riveredge at Edgewood and Greenwood at Edgewood. Voluntary evacuations are in effect for the area of Riveredge near the Brazos River Bridge and US 90A.
Brazos Bend State Park closed May 28 because of flooding of the Brazos River. The park will remain closed through at least June 7.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for areas along the Brazos River in Fort Bend County. Officials expect river flooding in the following areas:
The area northwest of Rosenberg bordered by Pumping Plant Road, Beadle Lane, Joerger Road on the North; FM 723, Stratman Road on the east; and the Brazos River on the south and west.
Properties close to the river in the floodways may experience flowing water. Residents should consider evacuating homes in the affected areas. Contact the Fort Bend County EOC for more information. In case of emergency, dial 9-1-1.
Due to the rising water levels in the Brazos River, Oyster Creek and other Missouri City waterways are elevated. As a precaution, officials have activated the Missouri City Office of Emergency Management to a Level I—Full Activation. Staff is closely monitoring area waterways and roadways and have identified several areas of concern.
As a result the following roads have been closed to through traffic:
– Plum Brook Lane in Quail Valley; residents who reside on the street will be allowed entry.
– Ridgeview Drive at Hampton Drive; residents who reside on the street will be allowed entry.
– Ridgeview Drive at Rolling Green Lane; residents who reside on the street will be allowed entry.
– Thompson Ferry and Hagerson Roads have been barricaded by Fort Bend County due to water on the roadways.
Citizens are encouraged to be cautious about high water on neighborhood streets and potential damage to their personal property. During periods of flooding, motorists are reminded when encountering water to: Turn Around Don’t Drown. Also, citizens should avoid parking in the street to allow emergency management and public safety vehicles clear passage.
Due to upstream and area rainfall, the National Weather Service has issued a river flood warning for the Brazos River in Fort Bend County until further notice or until the warning is cancelled. NWS officials forecast that the waterway will continue rising to near 53.5 feet on May 31 then begin falling.
Should the Brazos River crest, some residential areas in Lake Olympia and Quail Valley may be impacted. To alert residents of potential homes flooding in their areas, Mayor Allen Owen issued a voluntary evacuation order on Sunday and Missouri City Police Officers notified homeowners in some subdivisions that the city is experiencing or is under threat of experiencing flooding resulting from extensive rainfall that has placed the Brazos River into flood stage.
“Safety of the citizens is paramount and we want them to be prepared in advance of any emergency to assure their families and property are protected,” Mayor Owen said.
To receive updates and alerts on flood safety and other emergency management issues, visit www.MissouriCityReady.com, the city’s official emergency management website and tune into 1690 AM. News about current flood updates and road closures is available in real-time via @MissouriCityEM on Twitter.