City of Rosenberg issues mandatory evacuations due to flooding concerns

As it streams through Fort Bend County, the rain-bloated Brazos River is swelling beyond its banks.

The prospect of serious flooding has thrown some fright into a young mother who is planning to pull out with her six-month-old child.

"She sleeps on a little thing on the floor and with all this, it's scary," said Laney Vargas as she held her daughter Isabelle.

At Clay Park near the Brazos River banks in Richmond, there's plenty of proof of the river's rapid rise. A basketball court is submerged and there are signs warning of danger for would-be swimmers.

The creeping water drew the curious who some believe would be better served planning a departure to higher ground.

As he scanned the park, Justin Aranda said his family recently lost a house on the raging Blanco River.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people wait until their victims before they can realize the danger they are in," said Aranda.

By noon Friday, the Brazos River had risen beyond 48 feet into minor flood stage and heading higher.

And yet longtime residents along the river were largely unconcerned.

"We lived through the '91 flood," said Larry Vargas. "It wasn't bad at all," 

"I'm not moving, I'm not moving," said 50-year-resident Dorothy Snyder with a laugh.

"If you are going to live by the river, the water is going to go up and it's going to go down," said 23-year-resident Dorothy Maczali with a smile.

The Brazos River is projected to rise another two feet by late Saturday pushing the river to the edge of major flood stage.

The City of Rosenberg has ordered residents who live in certain areas south of the Brazos River to evacuate from their homes as the body of water is projected to crest even if no additional rain falls.

Residents with homes along Avenue A from 1st Street to 8th Street and along 6th Street from Avenue B to Avenue D are directly affected by the mandatory evacuation order.

The City of Rosenberg shared the following information in a statement released on Friday:

According to the US Geological Survey's reading for the Brazos River Richmond monitoring station at 3:15 p.m., the river is expected to crest at approximately 50 feet if there is no additional rainfall.

As of Friday at approximately 6 p.m., Rosenberg public safety officers will begin canvassing the areas of mandatory evacuation to make contact with residents, and advise them of the orders to evacuate. The evacuation order will be effective as of 9 p.m. Friday.

Once the order is in effect, residents will not be allowed to reenter the evacuated area until it is deemed safe to return by the City. Public safety officers will secure the evacuated areas, and residents will be allowed to return to their homes after waters subside and local officials are able to inspect structures for safety. Since the duration of the evacuation order is unknown at this point, residents are encouraged to bring anything along with them critical to their health or well-being, such as medications, personal documents, etc.

A Red Cross shelter has been set up for evacuees at First Baptist Church Richmond – 502 South Fifth Street, Richmond, Texas. Shelters will provide minimal provisions only (cots and blankets), so evacuees should prepare to bring any necessary supplies with them including bedding, clothing, personal hygiene items, etc.

City officials will continue to monitor the river, and may call for additional mandatory evacuations as required. Overall, City officials estimate approximately 50 residences (150 residents) may be affected by evacuation orders.

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