It's been raining, and it's been pouring on several of our neighbors upstream. The San Bernard river is considered flooded in East Bernard at 17 feet, and it's at 25.99 feet. The Colorado river is considered flooded in Wharton at 39 feet, and we are currently at 42.89 feet. The San Bernard is supposed to have already crested, and should be slowing going down now, but keep in mind that this information is based off predictions that can change with the weather. The Colorado has not crested yet, and is expected to keep rising for another day. It is expected to reach 47.3 feet. This information could change, and I encourage everyone in the area to tune in to our friends at KULP 1390 AM, The Texas Legend either on the radio or on their facebook or twitter page. They have been doing an excellent job keeping everyone updated on new weather reports, flooding, and road closure information. Other local radio stations and television stations are also keeping people up to speed on current information regarding the flooding, and I encourage everyone to be aware. Our office has also been using the Lower Colorado River Authority website (http://hydromet.lcra.org/full.aspx#) as a reference for water level information.
The mayor has asked for voluntary evacuation of the area bounded on the East by S. Outlar Street on
the South by Camellia and on the North by W. Milam Street, as of 6:00 am on Tuesday morning, April 19, due to the predicted rise of
the Colorado River. The City is encouraging residents in the voluntary evacuation area to
begin preparations for the potential flooding. Residents are encouraged to make alternate
housing arrangements. If you are needing shelter for the flood please contact the city secretary at 979-532-4811 ext. 225.
If you need a place to take livestock, call the Wharton auction barn (979-532-3660) for information, if they have space you should be able to bring animals to their pens.
If you have been displaced from your home and have pets that you cannot move to the location you are sheltering at, call the Wharton county fair grounds (979-677-3350) about temporarily sheltering your animals there. These are temporary sheltering spaces for animals, if you have any other questions regarding livestock or pets being displaced, call your local Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office (find it here- http://counties.agrilife.org/ ). The Wharton county office number is 979-532-3310, our hours are from 8-5 Monday through Friday, during business hours someone will be near the phone to take your calls and help you any way we can.
As an entomologist I am going to have to add some insect related news to this. Fire ants can be very dangerous in flood situations. Please be aware that they form living rafts with their bodies in the water. This is to keep the colony together and alive until they can shelter somewhere dry and dig back into the ground. If you encounter a raft of fire ants, do not touch it with anything. They will quickly grab on to and climb over anything they can. Wear long sleeves, pants, and gloves when cleaning up debris and working in flooded areas to create more of a barrier between yourself and any ants you may find. It may also be wise to consider spraying an insect repellant on your shoes and pants, preferably one containing DEET. If you find fire ants in debris, use a fast acting insecticide labelled for ants, but take care not to spray into the water, as they can be detrimental to aquatic organisms. Keep in mind that flooding can cause them to show up in areas they would not have been before. Other organisms can be displaced by flooding as well, keep an eye out for alligators and snakes when cleaning up near flooded areas. Even animals that are well adapted to water like alligators and water moccasins will seek higher ground. Keep in mind these cowboy sayings, "don't fool with something that ain't bothering you none" and "don't corner something meaner than you".
Stay safe, everyone!