Fort Worth

Brazos River flooded, some Parker County residents evacuated

A fence is overtaken by the rising Brazos River in Horseshoe Bend on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The river is expected to reach flood stage on Thursday.
A fence is overtaken by the rising Brazos River in Horseshoe Bend on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. The river is expected to reach flood stage on Thursday. Star-Telegram

Parker County crews rescued a man and his two dogs overnight in the Horseshoe Bend area and continued to monitor the flooded Brazos River on Thursday, officials said.

In response to officials urging people to leave their homes, several residents had evacuated their residences along the Brazos River, but several people have stayed, authorities said.

Six evacuees were at a shelter at the Weatherford school district 9th Grade Activity Center, 1007 S. Main St., in Weatherford. The shelter remained open on Thursday.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the area.

At 7:30 a.m. Thursday, the Brazos River near Dennis was at 23.47 feet over the flood stage level of 21 feet.

The Brazos should fall below flood stage by Friday evening.

But those projections could change if more water falls in the river’s watershed.

Forecasters are calling for more rain on Thursday, and a flash flood watch goes into effect from 6 p.m. Thursday until noon Saturday for many North Texas counties including Parker and Tarrant counties.

A voluntary evacuation order was issued for Horseshoe Bend, along with Mountain River, Lazy Bend, Soda Springs and outlying areas of Brock. Parker County Judge Mark Riley asked residents to be out of affected neighborhoods by 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials said they don’t want to be in a situation where high-water rescues are required

But Bart Salter insisted he wasn’t going anywhere.

The 50-year-old has been coming to this isolated corner of Parker County southwest of Weatherford since he was an 8-year-old growing up in Everman.

He has lived here for the last 19 years and has ridden out several floods, including the last one, in 2007. He owns several properties near his home.

“I’ll be right here with my generator running and my floodlights on, looking for looters,” Salter said. “It won’t be like Wimberley where the water came up real fast. It will be more like a slow rise where the water starts seeping in everywhere.”

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the area, saying the Brazos River near Dennis is expected to rise above flood stage of 21 feet Thursday morning and crest at 231/2 feet to 24 feet by the evening. The Brazos should fall below flood stage by Friday evening.

But those projections could change if more water falls in the river’s watershed.

“We’re totally dependent on how much it rains tonight and tomorrow,” said George Teague, Parker County’s emergency management coordinator. “We could be looking at a record flood.”

Further water level increases will also be influenced by releases from Possum Kingdom Lake. The Brazos River Authority is releasing water from Lake Granbury to accommodate the rise, but that won’t prevent flooding in the Horseshoe Bend area.

A voluntary evacuation order was issued for Horseshoe Bend, along with Mountain River, Lazy Bend, Soda Springs and outlying areas of Brock. Parker County Judge Mark Riley asked residents to be out of affected neighborhoods by 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials said they don’t want to be in a situation where high-water rescues are required.

Parker County asks residents to leave by 8p.m. as Brazos River reaches flood stage.

Evacuation in progress

Many of Salter’s neighbors appeared to heed the evacuation order. A steady stream of vehicles drove away, with full pickup beds or trailers packed with belongings.

Peggy and Ron Olman of North Richland Hills were filling a mobile home with items and loading a trailer with “guy stuff” to take back home.

A few feet away, the debris-filled Brazos moved rapidly. Sometime overnight, the Olmans expected the river to be in their yard. Already, their dock, about 50 yards behind the house, was submerged. The only thing visible was a satellite dish sticking out of the ground.

“If it doesn’t go any higher than they’re predicting, our stuff should be OK,” Peggy Olman said. “But what you worry about is more rain. If we get more, who knows how high it will go?”

At the entrance to Horseshoe Bend, Parker County animal control officers helped secure pets and livestock. Cowboys herded cattle from a flooded pasture to higher ground, across the only road out of town.

On the other end of the horseshoe-shaped neighborhood with about 250 homes, Claudia Van Wright was debating whether to leave.

Water had already seeped into a low spot behind her home. But she was worried about what might come overnight.

“It will get over the road and cut me off from the rest of the neighborhood,” Van Wright said. “I’ve got to get to work tomorrow, so I can’t be stuck in here. That probably means I’m headed somewhere else tonight.”

A neighbor, Vince Scott, was driving around in a four-wheel-drive vehicle debating whether to head home to Carrollton.

“It’s great down here, except when it floods,” Scott said. “But I may be able to go fishing right behind my house.”

Lakes full

The rain finally filled Lake Bridgeport in Wise County. It’s the first time since July 11, 2010, that all Tarrant Regional Water District lakes have been full. Levels were high enough that the district was releasing water.

For now, district officials can manage the flows without flooding homes. Last week, water was within a foot of a house on Eagle Mountain Lake and another on Lake Worth.

“The problem would be 5-inch rains over Eagle Mountain Lake,” said David Marshall, the district’s director of engineering and operations support. “It’s much better to have these half-inch rains. They are much more manageable.”

Wednesday night more heavy rain fell on Fort Worth, so what else is new? Star-Telegram video by Paul Moseley.

WFAA meteorologist Greg Fields said the wet weather will stick around through this weekend, making more flash flooding likely.

“With showers and storms in the forecast the rest of the week and more heavy rain possible, I’d say breaking the all-time monthly record is likely,” Fields said.

After the rains late Tuesday and early Wednesday, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport had received 12.31 inches this month, making this the third-wettest May on record at DFW.

It will take only 0.35 inch to pass May 1957 for second place.

Jamie Gudmestad, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said chances are good that an inch will fall in the next day or so.

Lightning show after the rain in Fort Worth

Staff writer Domingo Ramirez Jr. contributed to this report.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

Record May rainfall

1. 1982: 13.66 inches

2. 1957: 12.64 inches

3. 2015: 12.31 inches

Source: National Weather Service. Rainfall totals are at DFW Airport.

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