Brazos river flooding slows down after heavy rainfall subsides

Some flooding has occurred in Horseshoe Bend and other communities surrounding the Brazos River following heavy rainfall and the opening of four gates at Possum Kingdom Lake’s Morris Sheppard Dam this week. 

After heavy rainfall caused the opening of four gates at Possum Kingdom Lake’s Morris Sheppard Dam earlier this week, some flooding has occurred around the Brazos River communities, but not as significant as anticipated.

“We’ve been very fortunate that we have not had any additional rainfall or additional significant releases from Possum Kingdom Lake,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Larry Walden said. “I think we have by and large missed what could have been a significant flooding situation. We still have minor flooding, we still have people who have had to move away from the river, but in relation to some of the major floods that have historically taken place, this one is a minor flood.”

Gates three and four at the dam were opened within 30 minutes of each other early Wednesday morning. The water, which went from 28,000 cubic feet per second to about 44,000 cubic feet per second, moved down the Brazos River where many communities lie. The subdivisions and communities in that area include Horseshoe Bend, Lazy Bend Estates, Soda Springs Road, River View Road, Thorp Springs Road, Hillcroft Drive, Gilbert Drive, Harris Drive, Driftwood Ranch Trail, East Meadow Lane, North Blue Stem Court, South Old Tin Top Road, Mountain River Estates and Brazos Rock.

According to the Brazos River Authority, a rain-bomb of more than five inches fell directly on Possum Kingdom Lake between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“The very heavy rainfall on the lake and the local runoff in the immediate vicinity caused the lake level to rapidly rise toward the top of the flood gates and emergency spillway — elevation 1,000 feet above mean sea level,” according to the BRA. “This rapid rise in lake level required the need to significantly increase the release rate from Morris Sheppard Dam in a short amount of time to protect the integrity of the dam.”

Horseshoe Bend resident Linda Preston said she is pretty well stranded at this time with water at both sides of her residence and the street underwater, but that the electricity and water have not been shut off.

“Large pickups are going through, but I won’t chance it with my Hyundai Elantra. We have plenty of groceries and water,” Preston said. “Electricity and water have not been shut off here. We should be good and we have neighbors that can help if necessary. We won’t receive any damage as we are up on the viaduct. We shouldn’t need any help.”

HSB temporary water manager Mark Patterson said so far, there have been no problems.

“We’re monitoring pressure and gallons of usage carefully, but so far no issues,” Patterson said. “We had already increased chlorine levels slightly.”

Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes said they will continue to monitor the situation.

“Based upon the forecast and us working with the National Weather Service River Forecast Center, we don’t expect any additional rainfall to adversely impact Parker County as far as the release from PK,” Hughes said. “We did have some residents move some of their belongings on their own, the county did not issue an evacuation order, but we did have resources on standby to respond as needed as we always do. So, we continue to monitor the situation and respond as needed.”

Walden said his precinct did put up some barricades, but they have not had to take any additional measures.

“We have positioned barricades and placed barricades as required as the water has risen, but fortunately we have not had to do any of the drastic measures that we had anticipated with this four-gate opening at Possum Kingdom Lake,” Walden said. “I would say we dodged a bullet.”

Parker County Judge Pat Deen signed a local disaster declaration Wednesday morning in response to potential major flooding to gain resources from the state.

“We’re going to let the declaration finish out just because in seven days it will expire,” Hughes said. 

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