Residents in Brazoria County, south of Houston, were told to evacuate immediately after the Columbia Lakes levee was breached. County officials posted a notice on Twitter at 10:30 a.m., telling residents to “GET OUT NOW!!”
Fox25 Houston reports that western Brazoria County is under a flash flood warning until 5:45 p.m.
County officials have continued updating residents on Twitter, noting that cell phone use should be limited to emergencies only.
Weather.com notes that parts east of West Columbia are in danger. The town is home to 4,000 residents and is 60 miles southwest of Houston.
“The threat is now moving from rain to river,” KPRC-TV meteorologist Britta Merwin told USA Today.
KCRA reports that 90 percent of the flooding in the central and western parts of the county are from rainwater, not the Beavos river.
“We’ve got a lot of low-lying areas that are experiencing flooding,” County spokeswoman Sharon Trower told KCRA. “When the river starts to come out of its banks, that’s when we’re going to have the biggest issues.”
Tom MacNeil, a real estate broker in Columbia Lakes, told the New York Times that residents said the break happened in a levee near a creek that floes into the Brazos River. MacNeil said the creek breached two spots on the levee, but residents shorted up low spots to keep water from flooding the streets. The Brazos is expected to reach over 32 feet, which is the height of the levees.
Parts of Highway 35 and other major roads in Brazoria County have been closed. A mandatory evacuation order for the western half of the county was issued on Sunday.
You can watch a live feed of the water level in Pearland, Texas:
As the Houston Chronicle reported, officials in Brazoria and Fort Bend counties issued evacuation orders late Monday because of fears that levees could fail as the Brazos River reached catastrophic levels.
“Waters will rise faster,” Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta told the Chronicle. “Rivers will accelerate through the floodplain faster.”
As CBS Houston notes, the Houston area has seen over 30 inches in some areas and nearly two feet more of rain is expected. Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane early Saturday morning, but has been dumping rain on Southeast Texas since Friday.
Harvey already broke the record for rainfall from a tropical storm in the contiguous U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that a rain gauge southeast of Houston recorded 49.32 inches at 9 a.m. CDT on Tuesday. “This total is higher than the previous record of 48 inches set during tropical cyclone Amelia of 1978 at Medina, Texas,” the NOAA noted.
President Trump is touring the damage caused by Harvey today. He will be in Corpus Christi before attending meetings in Austin.