Parker County is preparing for flooding along the Brazos River after officials decided to open a third floodgate upstream to handle high water levels on Thursday.
The Brazos River Authority announced it will open a third floodgate at Possum Kingdom Lake at 8 p.m., which will send a surge of water into the Brazos River, putting Horseshoe Bend in Parker County at risk of flooding.
Parker County Judge Pat Deen issued a disaster declaration in response to the announcement that the floodgate will be opening.
“Parker County Emergency Management is advising all residents who live in flood-prone areas along the river to prepare to move to higher ground,” he said in a Facebook post. “Flood waters are expected to start spilling out of the banks of the river tomorrow morning, Friday, June 7.”
The last time the third gate was opened in 2016, Horseshoe Bend saw major flooding as the river rose to over 25 feet.
The Brazos River Authority notified Parker County Emergency Management that it will open the gate. Water from the lake will take about 10 to 12 hours to reach the Horseshoe Bend area.
Water levels at Horseshoe Bend will start rising overnight with a crest expected between 21 to 24 feet on Saturday at about 3 p.m. Moderate flooding in the area occurs at 25 feet and major flooding at 27 feet. On Thursday, the river level was at 17.6 feet.
Parker County Emergency Management notified residents in flood-prone areas to prepare to move to higher ground, the Brazos River Authority said in a press release.
Judi Pierce, spokeswoman for the Brazos River Authority, said they thought the third gate would not have to be opened until Thursday morning, when they heard that Hubbard Creek would be opening its floodgates, sending an influx of water into Possum Kingdom Lake.
“The river is moving quickly and is dangerous. Residents should avoid walking near the banks as recent rains could lead to bank collapses or slip and falls into the swift waters,” Brazos River Authority said in a press release.
The release also warned parents not to let children play in or near flood waters.
On Thursday afternoon, a thunderstorm at Possum Kingdom Lake dropped some rain in the area, but not enough to significantly impact the water level of the Brazos River, meteorologist Jason Godwin with the National Weather Service said.
The DFW area may see light thunderstorms Thursday night, but the remainder of the weekend should be rain-free, Godwin said.