Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Coryell County declares local disaster after widespread flooding

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Following severe flooding that impacted several roads and properties over the weekend, Coryell County issued a declaration of local disaster on Sunday, May 5.  

Parts of the county received as much as six inches of rain on Saturday evening, resulting in a historic rise in the Leon River. The high flood waters caused a devastating impact to the county’s infrastructure, including homes, properties, businesses, and agriculture and ranching operations, according to a press release distributed by Coryell County Judge Roger Miller.

“We’ve been dealt a bit of a blow to our roads, infrastructure, personal properties, businesses, and agricultural and ranching operations,” Miller said. “Our farmers and ranchers are dependent upon rainfall to make their operations viable and profitable; God just gave us a little more than we were able to handle. But we are very fortunate that we haven’t had any loss of life or serious injury at this point.”

The declaration activates the county’s emergency management plan. It went into effect on Saturday at 9 p.m. and will continue for seven days unless extended by the Commissioners Court.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the Leon River gauge height in Gatesville reached a peak of 33.78 feet at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Miller said this is a new record high for May 5. The previous record was 29.73 feet on May 5, 1990.

As of Sunday, the flood stage for the Leon River at Gatesville is at 22 feet and the gauge height is 32.14 feet and falling, according to the National Weather Service. Miller said the gauge height is predicted to continue to fall even though chances of rain are forecast in the coming week.

The Coryell County Road and Bridge Department is working to mark high water areas while also assessing damage to roads, bridges, and low-water crossings on county roads, according to the release. The county has also been working with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to assess any damage to state and federal highways and roads.

Miller said he is currently aware of 22 county roads that have been closed due to high waters or damaged due to swift, flowing water.

“Of particular concern is the closure of FM 116,” he said. “I have consulted with TxDOT and they have indicated that the road will remain closed for the next several days. When the waters recede, they will make an assessment of the damage and a possible timeline to fix and re-open the road. Until we get an official word from TxDOT, everyone attempting to cross the Cow House Creek at Pidcoke should seek an alternate route.”

Citizens can report business and personal property damages to the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) on their website at https://damage.tdem.texas.gov/ and by selecting “Spring Severe Weather and Flooding Event.”

Closures

As of Monday, dozens of roads and areas across the county are either impassable or closed due to flooding. Citizens are encouraged to avoid all high-water areas.

The Gatesville Police Department said on Monday that Faunt Le Roy Park is closed indefinitely, and entry to the park is prohibited.

Six homes were evacuated on East Leon Street near Brown Park due to flooding on Sunday, according to police. As of Monday morning, police say water is still flowing heavily across Leon Street and barricades are in place at 200 East Leon Street.

Gatesville ISD also canceled classes on Monday due to washed-out roads. 

The Coryell County Sheriff’s office said State Highway 36 is open and clear in all directions as of Monday morning.

The sheriff’s office shared a full list of current road closures via social media that they will periodically update as they receive information. Closures include:

  • FM 116 at Cow House Creek
  • CR 142
  • FM 1829
  • Winter Road
  • W Highway 84 at Cow House Creek
  • CR 303
  • Osage and Bluff Creek
  • CR 102
  • Straws Mill Road (low water crossing)
  • Bald Knob Road (low water crossing)
  • CR 127 west of CR 133
  • FM 182
  • W Highway 84 past CR 136
  • 3700 Block of Greenbriar Rd
  • CR 338 to Mother Neff State Park
  • CR 315
  • CR 182/Highway 36
  • Highway 36 at Moccasin Bend
  • FM 217
  • 2055/Young Ranch Road
  • Highway 84/Highway 283
  • FM 215/Coryell Creek
  • Highway 84/Cow House Creek
  • FM 930
  • Park Road 14/Mother Neff Park Road
  • CR 414
  • FM 2412/Plum Creek
  • FM 930/Plum Creek
  • CR 106
  • Cr 315 from bridge to FM 107
  • CR 344
  • CR 266
  • 225 (asphalt and debris on roadway)
  • FM 183 (part of roadway gone)
  • CR 339
  • CR 334
  • FM 1783
  • CR 321 and CR 348 at Leon Junction
  • CR 194, 196, 198 (reportedly washed out)
  • CR 132 (impassable)
  • SH 236 (Mother Neff Parkway)

For more updates on closures, visit DriveTexas.org.