More rain, more flooding expected Friday in North Texas

A swath of storms caused more flooding Thursday in North Texas, but this time the target moved a little.

Instead of pounding the Granbury area again, the storm settled over Johnson County, forcing officials to temporarily close more than 70 roads, including Interstate 35W in Alvarado. Seven high-water rescues were reported. No one was injured, but authorities arrested one motorist who drove around a barricade in a flooded area and had to be rescued.

In the flood-prone Horseshoe Bend area of Parker County, where the Brazos River crested Thursday, residents hope the worst is behind them.

The flooding brought Gov. Greg Abbott to Granbury, where he was briefed on the damage. He said it’s been a tough few days for Texas because of widespread storms causing damage from North Texas to the Gulf Coast.

“With the continuing downpouring of rain, we will face a sustained challenge for a few more days, and then we will be a part of the process of rebuilding the lives of individuals, homes, counties and communities,” Abbott said. “Texas will be there by your side. Your local officials will be there by your side.”

The latest round of storms had mostly moved out of North Texas, but more rain was expected overnight and Friday afternoon.

“We’ll be under the gun again” on Friday, said Dan Huckaby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “It’s not out of the question that we could see some significant rainfall overnight.”

There’s a slight chance of thunderstorms Saturday, but by Sunday, the gray skies that have shrouded North Texas for most of the week should give way to sunshine, at least for a few days.

Damage seen across the state

Statewide, the lingering storm system and the flooding it caused have destroyed or severely damaged about 550 homes, said Nim Kidd, chief of the state’s emergency management division.

“A lot of areas are inaccessible, so I expect those numbers will increase,” Kidd said.

The financial toll of responding to the raging waters amounts to about $12.5 million in local costs statewide and $2.5 million in state costs. Kidd didn’t break down what expenditures are factored into those costs.

Abbott said the primary source of financial assistance that many Texans could be eligible for is through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, he said it would take days to tally up the financial losses and number of Texans displaced from their homes to determine whether federal financial assistance was appropriate.

In North Texas, the heaviest rainfall Thursday afternoon came in southern Johnson County, where National Guard troops were on hand to assist with rescues.

About 4 p.m., Johnson County Emergency Management reported that 73 roads were closed.

While some areas to the south of Dallas-Fort Worth flooded, the Metroplex saw mostly rain.

By 4 p.m., 1 inch of rain had fallen in the last 24 hours at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Cemetery damaged in Hood County

Wednesday night, flash flooding forced numerous high-water rescues in Hood County.

“We had that storm start pouring and just hang over us,” said Hood County Judge Darrell Cockerham. “It seemed like it would never stop.”

Acton and Decordova Bend Estates were among the hardest hit areas on Wednesday, Cockerham said.

A bridge was washed away in Acton and floodwaters rushed through the Acton Cemetery, overturning numerous headstones.

In Decordova Bend Estates, residents were surprised and overwhelmed by the sudden downpours. In a 24-hour period beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, almost 4 inches of rain fell in parts of Hood County.

“We had one woman who suddenly had 3 feet of water in her home,” Cockerham said. “We would have been overwhelmed without those state resources.”

Hood County sheriff’s deputies and local police and firefighters handled 11 high-water rescues from cars and homes on Tuesday and 19 Wednesday.

“But unofficially we’ve had a lot more than that,” said Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds. “In a lot of cases, the deputies will just help someone and move on.”

‘This isn’t over just yet’

Farther upstream, the Brazos River crested Thursday morning in the Horseshoe Bend area. It was projected to crest at 26.61 feet, which is just below major flood level, and more than 2 feet less than was originally forecast.

“That’s still a serious flood, but it looks like we got some good news,” said Joel Kertok, a Parker County spokesman. “We’re not out of the woods yet, with more rain in the forecast.”

The heavy rainfall has forced the Brazos River Authority to release water from Possum Kingdom Lake into the Brazos. From the lake, the Brazos goes through Parker and Hood counties before reaching Lake Granbury, where floodgates are also open.

Judi Pierce, a BRA spokeswoman, said the inflows appeared to have crested into Possum Kingdom Lake, which may allow them to hold off opening a third flood gate.

“We’re waiting on the rain to see how much they get up there,” Pierce said. “That could change everything.”

Horseshoe Bend resident Bart Salter, who owns 13 rental houses in the rural subdivision, said that even though the river isn’t as high as predicted, he remains worried about more rain and additional releases from Possum Kingdom.

“This isn’t over just yet,” he said. “If it starts raining again, it could get a whole lot worse.”

The BRA has been criticized by many Horseshoe Bend residents for the repeated floods over the last year but Kertok said it deserves some credit for handling the flood.

“I think the BRA has done a good job of managing the system and preventing the flooding from being much worse,” Kertok said.

Staff writers Dylan Bradley, Lee Williams, Judy Wiley and Mark David Smith contributed to this report, which includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna