Historic rise of Brazos River prompts numerous rescues in Fort Bend County
FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – The Brazos River rose to historically high levels Tuesday, prompting more water rescues of residents in parts of Fort Bend County.
The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management reports over 90 rescues have been conducted by Texas Task Force 1, and the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office reporting conducting approximately 50.
“It's a collective effort with the emergency services organizations around the county,” Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said. “People stayed a little too long.”
Boats and big trucks were ferrying residents out of the neighborhoods along the north bank of the Brazos outside Rosenberg much of the day.
Longtime resident Hugo Cellez said he didn't expect the river to rise so fast.
“The water just kept rising and it got up to at least 6 inches inside the house. Outside it was was knee deep.” He said.
Evacuations have been ordered for parts of Richmond, Simonton and Thompsons, and as well as the unincorporated areas north of the river near Rosenberg.
“This level of water in the river has not been seen in many of our lifetimes and we urge residents to heed these warnings,” said Jeff Braun, emergency management coordinator for Fort Bend County.
The National Weather Service had predicted the river to crest at 53.5 feet Tuesday, but as of 5 p.m., the river surpassed that level, reaching 53.95 feet.
In one neighborhood north of Rosenberg, Lupe Padilla said he was watching a friend's house, but decided to leave Tuesday afternoon as the river continued to rise.
“I'm just now trying to get back to civilization, get out of here.” he said.
In the same neighborhood, an airboat crewed by volunteers Richard Allen and Jeff Shimek, and carrying Nehls and Channel 2 reporter Phil Archer and photographer Jeovany Luna, spotted a dog chained to the front porch of a flooded house. The animal was barely able to hold its head above water.
Archer and Shimek went into the water to rescue the dog. The animal was turned over to the Houston Humane Society. On a return trip, Nehls, Allen and Shimek found five more dogs abandoned in the floodwaters and brought them out. Other animals, including horses, have been spotted, but have yet to be brought out.
Fort Bend County has set up shelters for residents at the First Baptist Church in Richmond and the Bible Fellowship Church in Brookshire. Anyone needing medical assistance should call Enable Fort Bend at 211. Information about road closures, an interactive map of flooding estimations and other safety tips may be found at the county Office of Emergency Management website or by calling 281-342-6185.