By Joe Southern
Late Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott and Fort Bend County Judge Robert Herbert both issued disaster declarations for the county.
Abbott declared a state of disaster in the following Texas Counties: Austin, Bastrop, Fort Bend, Colorado, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton. Additional counties may be added as the situation develops.
“Fort Bend County residents need to understand the severity of this incident,” Judge Hebert said. “This is not a normal rainstorm like we’re all used to dealing with: this situation is severe and an abundance of caution is required of us all.”
In Harris County, Judge Ed Emmett has also issued a disaster declaration, which affects several Missouri City subdivisions that are located in the area.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Fort Bend County until Tuesday, April 19, and is predicting rainfall totals over a five-day period of 8-10 inches for the Houston region. Up to six inches of that rainfall total was predicted through Tuesday morning.
Predictions from the NWS place the Brazos River Flood Gauge at Richmond cresting at 49.1 feet on Tuesday, April 19, due to upstream rainfall. Oyster Creek and other waterways in Missouri City have been significantly elevated.
If it crests as forecast at 49.5 feet it will be the fourth highest recorded river level for the Brazos River in Richmond.
“Significant rainfall north of us in the Brazos and San Bernard river watersheds have sent a wall of water down both rivers, this situation is causing ongoing concern” Hebert said. “The staff at the emergency operations center are monitoring river levels and overnight rainfall with the National Weather Service.”
Flooding and the rising river caused Brazos Bend State Park to evacuate campers and close the park for the rest of the week.
“Effective immediately, Brazos Bend State Park is closed to public use through at least Monday, April 25,” said David Heinicke, park naturalist and state park police officer. “We will re-evaluate as conditions unfold and extend the closure or not as conditions warrant.”
The Fort Bend County Drainage District and the levee operators are working together and monitoring levee status. Fort Bend County departments like the sheriff’s office, road and bridge, drainage district, emergency management, public transit, purchasing, fire marshal, and EMS continue to monitor the situation, and will take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of Fort Bend County residents, and the preservation of property within Fort Bend County.
Road closures can be viewed on the Fort Bend County OEM road closures page. The county is monitoring social media. Residents can bring things to the attention of officials by tagging them in the post, mentioning @fbcoem, and using the appropriate hashtags.