Rain poured down across the Houston area and Fort Bend County region beginning Tuesday night, causing some flooding along with concerns among residents.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George and other county emergency personnel leaders addressed those concerns at a press conference Thursday afternoon on the precipice of more heavy precipitation. The rain is expected to last at least through Saturday evening throughout the region, including Sugar Land, Missouri City, Meadows Place, Stafford and other local neighborhoods.
Storms began in the region around 7 p.m. Thursday, and George added that widespread areas are expecting 4-8 inches of rain with isolated pockets of 9-12 inch rains depending on the storm’s bands. There is potential for 2-4 inches per hour, with a risk of damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes accompanying storms.
“The ground is already saturated, which brings favorable conditions for flooding,” he said.
As much as 8-9 inches of rain fell across Sugar Land and other Fort Bend County neighborhoods Tuesday, according to media reports. Neighborhoods off Settler’s Way and William Trace, as well as First Colony in Sugar Land, got more rain in a matter of hours than during a three-day period surrounding Hurricane Harvey, Sugar Land city spokesperson Doug Adolph told KHOU.
Several schools in Sugar Land and Fort Bend ISD cancelled classes due to isolated street flooding, and more than 150 homes in the unincorporated areas of Fort Bend County flooded in the aftermath of Tuesday’s downpour, according to county officials.
“What was impacted was not normal,” Fort Bend County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Flathouse said.
The area is set to get even wetter. According to Jeff Janecek with the Fort Bend County Drainage District, the National Weather Service’s three-day rainfall forecast projects an additional 5-7 inches in isolated areas into the weekend, with potential for 10-12 inches in some places.
Additionally, Janecek noted the Brazos River in Richmond is at a minor flood stage (47.37 feet) with projections only showing another foot of rise in the next five days. At its southern border in Rosharon is in a moderate flood stage (50.77 feet), and forecasting shows very little additional rise. However, that flood forecast only includes 24 hours of anticipated rainfall, so he noted things remain in flux.
“We know we’ve got much more of that coming. We’re watching closely what happens tonight and in the days to come,” he said. “We’re going to have closely monitor the rainfall we get and where it occurs in the days to come.”
George said the county is conducting helicopter and drone missions to analyze the situation with a bird’s eye view. Additionally, residents can text “FBC Alerts” to 888777 to subscribe to emergency text alerts from the county.
“We are doing everything possible to make our citizens’ lives better – we just want our residents to stay safe and follow instructions coming from the authorities. We are here – we are watching it closely, and we’re here to help,” George said. “Every step of the way, I encourage our citizens to actively watch social media closely and our website. Stay alert, and keep monitoring what is going on. I don’t want them to panic, but they need to be cautious. Watch what is happening, and we will be there for you.”
Along with subscribing to text alerts, citizens can visit the county’s Office of Emergency Management website at fbcoem.org/. They can also follow the office’s Twitter page @fbcoem and its Facebook page at facebook.com/fbcoem/.