FORT BEND COUNTY, TX – Fort Bend County, TX – The Brazos River rose above record levels last night and continues to rise. The river is already two feet over the record in Simonton, a level not seen in over fifty years.
“The river is already two feet higher in Simonton than it was in the 1994 floods,” says 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 yesterday, with more expected now in the daylight hours.”
Twenty-six people were rescued in rescue operations conducted yesterday and today near Simonton.
As the river levels rise, so has the flow rate of the flood water. 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,” says 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.
**Please visit http://www.fortbendcountynews.info for more information pertaining to local events and updates.**