The Brazos River played another game of brinkmanship last week but backed off without causing major flooding in Fort Bend County.
The river rose to flood levels but didn’t inundate any homes or businesses last week, unlike the four floods from 2015 through Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Brazos Bend State Park was forced to close due to minor flooding. The Brazos River Turnaround on Highway 59 and parts of Missouri City’s Edible Arbor Trail were closed but that represented the bulk of the headache caused by the swollen muddy river.
“The river has crested and it’s starting to drop,” said Alan Spears, deputy emergency management coordinator for Fort Bend County.
Parts of low-lying areas in Needville flooded, including Cow Creek Road, Charlie Meyer Road at Turkey Creek, and River Oaks in Pecan Bend.
The gauge in Richmond showed the Brazos cresting at 46.5 feet on Wednesday. The gauge downstream in Rosharon, the one used by Brazos Bend State Park, was forecast to reach 49.7 feet but crested a foot lower than that.
“We had what is called a dry flood,” Park Superintendent Chris Bishop said. “What I mean by that is the river is rising but we’re not getting clobbered with rain.”
It was rain a week earlier combined with rains in the northern river basin that led to the rising river according to the National Weather Service.
“Most of these crests are driven solely from local rainfall,” Katie Landry-Guyton of the National Weather Service in Houston-Galveston said in a video update last week.
In Brazos Bend, Bishop said he made the decision to close the park once the forecast topped 46.5 feet in Rosharon.
“We don’t want to have a false sense of confidence for future floods, so 46.5 feet is my trigger point for closing in the future,” he said.
At that point the road leading to the campgrounds goes under water and several of the trails become impassable. A handful of campsites flooded and the fishing pier at Hale Lake went under water again. Several popular hiking trails were closed as well. They are flooded not by the Brazos River, but by tributaries such as Big Creek that get backed up and experience a reverse flow.
In Missouri City, authorities closed a portion of the Edible Arbor Trail due to minor flooding.
“Staff has evaluated this section and closed both sides of the trail under FM 1092 (Murphy Road) with barricades until the water recedes. Residents are advised to avoid these high water areas and use caution while walking on the trail and in Mosley Park,” the city said in a press release.
“According to the Fort Bend Office of Emergency Management, the river’s forecast crest level is about 10 feet lower than both Hurricane Harvey and Memorial Day in 2016, and five feet lower than Memorial Day and Tax Day flooding in 2015,” the city said.