Fort Worth

Latest round of rain causes problems for North Texas lakes

A sheriff's vehicle on U.S. 380 going over Lake Bridgeport on Saturday, the lake level hitting the bottom of the bridge as areas flood around Bridgeport.
A sheriff's vehicle on U.S. 380 going over Lake Bridgeport on Saturday, the lake level hitting the bottom of the bridge as areas flood around Bridgeport. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The heavy round of thunderstorms that rolled through North Texas on Saturday morning didn’t strand motorists on freeways or bring out swift-water rescue teams, but it was a cause for concern at area lakes.

The watershed for Lake Bridgeport in Wise County saw another drenching rainfall, flooding one lakefront home on Ashton Drive and forcing the Tarrant Regional Water District to continue releasing water downstream into the West Fork of the Trinity River.

The high water had already closed many county roads in Wise County, said David Marshall, the water district’s director of engineering and operations support.

“We’re trying to keep it from closing the Highway 380 bridge over Lake Bridgeport and Highway 114 downstream,” Marshall said. “We don’t want to close off those major arteries for emergency services.”

As rains fill Lake Bridgeport the water is now hitting the bottom of the U.S. 380 bridge. Star-Telegram video by Paul Moseley.

Marshall said officials believe they can keep water from covering Texas 114 near Boyd and hold the lake’s level just below the bridge.

“I think we’ll come right up to the bottom cord of the bridge sometime late [Saturday] or early Sunday morning,” Marshall said.

Marshall said it didn’t appear that homes would flood on Eagle Mountain Lake or Lake Worth. Eagle Mountain and Bridgeport were closed this weekend to boaters because of safety and flooding concerns.

The latest thunderstorms added more rain to what was already the region’s wettest May on record. While the flooding wasn’t nearly as bad as Friday, much of North Texas remained under a flood watch or warning throughout Saturday.

The Trinity River flooded across FM 730 near Boyd, closing the road in both directions. Star-Telegram video by Paul Moseley.

“I think there was a lot of flash flooding again across the entire area, but it wasn’t as serious as yesterday and there wasn’t as much traffic on the roads, which has obviously helped,” said Matt Bishop, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Now that Saturday’s storm threat has subsided, North Texas will likely get a break for a few days, with forecasts calling for mostly sunny skies through Friday.

‘It’s kind of a mess’

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said the flooding had caused minor problems downstream along Turkey Creek in Bridgeport and in the southern part of the county. The high water had closed 16 roads across the county, including Farm Road 730 just north of Boyd.

“We don’t have any reports of it flooding homes downstream, but we do have a lot of county roads closed,” Walker said.

The Army Corps of Engineers was closely monitoring the flows into its five DFW reservoirs — Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Grapevine, Joe Pool and Lavon — that were above flood stage.

Some were concerned that more releases from Ray Roberts could cause downstream flooding and also flood more than 1,000 homes around Lewisville Lake if the lake climbed to 537 feet, a level it has never reached. On Saturday evening, Lewisville was at a record 536.83 feet, said Clay Church, a spokesman for the corps’ Fort Worth district. The previous record — 536.73 — was set May 4, 1990.

The corps has closed Lewisville Lake to boat traffic until it can determine whether the water has subsided to safe levels. Hazards include debris, displaced wildlife and the potential for boats to push water into someone’s home near the lake.

“We like for people to normally visit,” Church said. “With these high lake levels and everything going on at the lake, now is not the time.”

At Lake Grapevine, which was at 559.52 feet Saturday morning, officials expect to release water over the spillway when it reaches 560 feet. Water has not been released over the spillway since 1990.

Farther west along the Brazos River, rain fell again Saturday in the Possum Kingdom watershed, which has led to flooding downstream in the Horseshoe Bend area of Parker County.

The neighborhood has been under a voluntary evacuation order since Wednesday. The projected flood stage of 25.9 feet is below the 27.55 feet that occurred during the last major flood — on June 29, 2007. It is also below the record crest of 31.88 feet on Oct. 14, 1981.

Judi Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Brazos River Authority, which operates Possum Kingdom and Lake Granbury farther downstream, said two floodgates remain open at the Possum Kingdom dam.

“We received about three-quarters of an inch over Possum Kingdom, but it does not appear we’re going to have to open another gate,” Pierce said. “But it is a situation we’ll be monitoring throughout the day.”

Horseshoe Bend resident Bart Salter, who has stayed home throughout the flood, said the river rose about 4 inches overnight. But water is also filling low-lying areas throughout the neighborhood.

“It’s steadily on the rise, but I don’t think it’s going to be as high as they predicted unless they have to open another gate,” Salter said.

Cleburne's East Chambers Street was still partially flooded Saturday morning, although water was not near homes along the street. Star-Telegram video by Paul Moseley.

Rainfall totals

The heaviest rainfall totals were across the northern part of the Metroplex.

In Tarrant County, Alliance Airport in far north Fort Worth had recorded 1.43 inches by 7 a.m. Saturday. In Denton County, 2.87 inches fell near Carrollton and 2.4 inches fell a few miles away in Addison in Dallas County. In Collin County, northwest Plano got 2.58 inches.

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport recorded 0.89 inch by 8 a.m., pushing the monthly total to 16.95 inches, adding to the wettest May on record.

Farther west, 2.31 inches fell along the West Fork of the Trinity River near Jacksboro. That water will go into the already-overflowing Lake Bridgeport. Palo Pinto County reported 1.74 inches south of Graham and near Graford. The highest total in Parker County was 1.5 inches near Springtown.

Radar estimates showed that an inch of rain fell across parts of Johnson County to the south where some county roads flooded.

Fort Worth had flooding Saturday morning along the Interstate 35W access road near Golden Triangle Boulevard. And Dallas County saw more flooding along Duck Creek.

Staff writer Dustin L. Dangli contributed to this report.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

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