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Fort Bend official cuts vacation short due to flooding in county

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – Emergency workers continued to rescue stranded residents in flooded neighborhoods along the Brazos River in Fort Bend County Wednesday.

The Ft. Bend Office of Emergency Management says 130 residents have been rescued since Saturday, most of them in Simonton where an estimated 250 are flooded.

The water has been rising for days in River's Edge subdivision, but boats went back on Wednesday to bring out residents and animals.

“Only thing I got out of my house was two pairs of pants,” Irineo Reyes said.

The rising river is sending water into places that have never flooded before.

Evacuations began this morning in Rio Vista when water began creeping into houses around 9 a.m.

“We thought it would peak and start going down, but overnight it jumped and started going up.” Lamont VanPatten said as he, his wife and three children made their way out Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency managers are warning residents who could be at risk to leave immediately. About 50 roads have been closed due to high water making travel in some parts of the county difficult.

The Brazos River appears to have finally crested but is now running higher than ever recorded -- at 54.7 feet. Emergency officials expect it to remain at that level for several days.

Ft. Bend County and 30 other Texas counties were declared a disaster area Wednesday by Gov. Greg Abbott, who plans to tour the area Friday, but it could be weeks before all the damage is assessed.

On Sunday, the Ft. Bend County's top executive, County Judge Robert Hebert, left the country on vacation, the same day mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Simonton and parts of Rosenberg. Judge Hebert's Facebook posts show him fishing in Playa del Carmen Tuesday.

Channel 2 News asked Ft. Bend County's Emergency Coordinator Wednesday if Herbert's absence has been an issue for the county's emergency response and planning.

“No not an issue at all,” Braun said. “We're taking the exact same actions. He's been in touch with us, we've made decisions and we're just enacting those decisions right now."

Within hours of the interview, another message was posted on Judge Hebert's Facebook page saying, “Cut short vacation to catch flight to Houston. I need to be in Fort Bend.”

Ft. Bend emergency responders are concerned about predictions of as much as 8 inches of rain in the area over the next three days.

With every stream and creek overflowing now, there is no place for the runoff to go.