SAN ANTONIO The Brazos River in Texas surged to its highest level in more than a century on Wednesday, triggering floods in which at least six people have died.
Forecasters predicted more rain as the Brazos rose to levels not seen since 1913. The National Weather Service reported that the river hit 54.49 feet (16.6 meters) at Richmond, Texas, about 4 feet (1.2 meters) above the flood record set in 1994.
“This level of water in the river has not been seen in many of our lifetimes and we urge residents to heed these warnings,” Jeff Braun, director of the emergency management office in Fort Bend County, said on the agency’s website.
About 120 water rescues have been carried out in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston. Evacuations were ordered over the past few days in areas spanning several counties, the website said.
A storm system dumped up to 22 inches (55.9 cm) of rain in just a few hours, killed at least six people last week, local authorities said.
In Simonton, in Fort Bend County, officials provided transportation to help residents leave their homes as well as security to prevent looting. The American Red Cross opened more shelters in the Houston area.
The National Weather Service forecast more rain for the Houston region through Sunday as a slow-moving storm system approached from the west.
Several rivers in southeastern and eastern Texas were in “major flood stage.” While relatively rare, forecasters have seen a number of such events in Texas over the past year, said National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Burke.
More than 20 inches (50.8 cm)of rain have fallen over some parts of southeast Texas during the last month, 8 inches (20.3 cm)to 10 inches (25.4 cm) above normal, Burke said.
(Additional reporting and writing by Suzannah Gonzales, Ian Simpson and Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jeffrey Benkoe)