Flooding claims one life, destroys 2900 bridge in Kingsland, forces evacuations
EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
Unprecedented is how some are describing the torrential flooding that has killed one person, destroyed the RR 2900 bridge in Kingsland, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people across the Highland Lakes.
But the area might not be out of the clear yet.
According to the Lower Colorado River Authority’s hydromet site, the Llano River was running at 30 feet just outside of Mason at approximately 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. The flood stage at that location is 13 feet, and that water is heading down the river toward Llano and Kingsland.
The National Weather Service’s Hydrologic Prediction Service estimates the Llano River at Llano could hit 40 feet again at about 8 p.m., after receding some late in the afternoon.
“Probably most of the damage in Burnet County has probably been in the Kingsland area, but all of LBJ, all up and down LBJ is flooding,” Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd said during a media conference at 12:15 p.m. Oct. 16. “One of the reports I got from Llano is we’re having flooding where we don’t normally have flooding. So even if you’re not on waterfront, you need to be careful and watch for rising water.”
The sheriff confirmed a body was recovered on the Colorado River between Kingsland and Granite Shoals. Boyd said the identification is pending, and the body was taken in for an autopsy.
Burnet County Emergency Management Coordinator Herb Darling urged people to pay attention to evacuation orders and other emergency notifications.
“People need to heed these warnings,” he said. “I know we hear them time and time again and nothing happens, but it’s a significant event we’re having today, and people need to pay special attention.”
The rainfall amounts have been high with more than 7 inches falling since 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at the San Fernando Creek near Llano and almost 8 inches near Mason. The LCRA hydromet system reported more than 5 inches of rain in the Llano area and 6 inches along Sandy Creek.
All this water has been moving downstream through Llano to the Highland Lakes.
Even north of Lake Buchanan, rainfall amounts have been more than 5 inches near Bend and the confluence of the San Saba River.
The San Saba River at San Saba was at 27 feet at approximately 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16, about 4 feet above flood stage.
Burnet and Llano counties are under a hazardous weather alert and flash flood warning with heavy rains continuing through the night, according to the National Weather Service. Highs and lows will remain in the 40s.
On Wednesday, rain chances drop to 50 percent with new precipitation of up to an inch. Highs will be in the mid-50s and lows in the upper 40s.
Showers will continue off and on through the weekend, dropping to a 20 percent chance on Monday, Oct. 22. Highs should creep up into the 60s on Friday and the low 70s on Sunday.
The LCRA was operating 10 flood gates at Wirtz Dam (Lake LBJ) and 10 flood gates at Max Starcke Dam (Lake Marble Falls) as of 2:45 p.m. The LCRA has also closed lakes Travis, Marble Falls, LBJ, Inks, and Buchanan until further notice.
Burnet Consolidated Independent School District are delaying the start of classes by two hours on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Marble Falls ISD, Llano ISD, and Faith Academy of Marble Falls have canceled classes Wednesday.
As this is a fast-changing event, we will post updates and information, as they become available, on the DailyTrib.com Facebook page.