By Matt Naber, Marivel DeLeon and Ava DeLeon
As of Monday morning, the National Weather Service reported moderate flooding in Tilden and Three Rivers from the Nueces River. This means both areas are now out of serious flood conditions and the river is predicted to continue to fall throughout the week.
Flood stages begin at 14 feet in Tilden, and as of Monday morning the Nueces River was at 18.3 feet.
As for the Three Rivers area, flood stages begin at 25 feet. As of Monday morning, the river was at 32 feet.
Farmers and ranchers are advised to keep an eye on livestock. At 32 feet the Nueces River cuts off livestock and they could drown in low areas of the flood plain. The NWS also said it backs up minor creeks near the slab elevation of homes in the River Creek Acres Subdivision about five miles southeast of George West.
Lake Corpus Christi's capacity was reported to be at 81 percent as of Sunday morning according to the National Weather Service. The Nueces River's waterlevels are predicted to slowly fall this week in Tilden and Live Oak County. Tilden is predicted to remain in moderate flood conditions through the end of the week. Three Rivers will remain in moderate flood conditions through Wednesday and is predicted to fall below flood stages by Thursday.
As of Sunday morning, water levels in Tilden were 18.8 feet, 14 feet is considered flooding at that location. For Three Rivers, the flood stage begins at 25 feet, and the river was recorded at 33.5 feet on Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service reported releases between 1,500-2,000 CFS are still ongoing at Lake Corpus Christi. The lake's percent of capacity has increased to 75 percent as of Saturday morning.
The NWS reported that the Nueces River fell to moderate flood levels near Tilden today and predicts levels slowly falling through next week. They also reported the Nueces River near Three Rivers also fell to moderate flood levels today and predicted that is may fall below flood stage by Thursday.
River level will remain above Action Stage near Bluntzer and Calallen through this weekend and most of next work week.
No new information is available at this time.
The flood warning issued by the National Weather Service is ongoing for Live Oak, McMullen and San Patricio counties.
Water levels in Three Rivers were reported at 36.1 feet as of 9:15 a.m., flood stage is 25 feet.
The NWS predicts a secondary crest will occur in Three Rivers on Friday morning at about 37 feet. Minor roads remain closed and Antelope Lane underwater.
Water levels in Tilden were reported at 20.6 feet in Tilden as of 8:30 a.m., flood levels for the Tilden area are 14 feet. The NWS reported wholesale evacuation of livestock from floodplain areas near Tilden along with impacted hunting cabins, pump jacks, tank batteries, and irrigation equipment that remained in low-lying flood plains.
The National Weather Service's flood warning for McMullen, Live Oak and San Patricio counties is ongoing. Current forecasts predict possible rainfall later this week, which could affect crest forecasts. As of 8:15 a.m. the Nueces River at Highway 281 near Three Rivers measured at 36.2 feet and in Tilden it was at 21.3 feet.
The river is projected to take a secondary rise today, cresting near 37.2 feet by Friday morning and then beginning a slow fall. The river is predicted to remain in major flooding stages through Sunday afternoon and in moderate flood stage for at least a week.
Recent rainfall in the area will keep the Nueces River above flood stages for the next few days according to the National Weather Service. The River crested at 38.95 feet at the measuring station near Highway 281 in Three Rivers earlier this week and has been on the decline. As of 6:15 p.m. the river was reported to be at 37.37 feet. Recent rainfall is predicted to cause the river to rise slightly on Thursday to about 37.6 feet and then gradually decline after that to about 35 feet by Sunday evening.
LIVE OAK AND TILDEN – After years of drought conditions, South Texas flooded due to heavy rainfall to the west, causing the Nueces River to send a flood wave to McMullen and Live Oak counties last week.
The National Weather Service reported the flood wave crested Thursday night at 23.5 feet south of Tilden, with the third highest crest on record. Tilden is predicted to remain in major flood conditions through next weekend with water levels between 19 and 21 feet.
Flood levels for the Nueces River are 25 feet, but the river crested near Three Rivers at 38.9 feet from midnight Sunday through about noon on Monday at Highway 281. Three Rivers is predicted to remain in major flood conditions with water levels above 35 feet through next weekend.
“That matches the flooding from 2002-2003,” Gene Chapline, Live Oak County Attorney and Emergency Management Coordinator, said. “That only affects the low-lying areas near the river, including River Creek Acres outside of George West.”
The flood wave crested at Cotulla, with the fourth highest crest on record for that location.
On Sunday evening, the National Weather Service reported “dangerous life and property threat along the Nueces River in Live Oak, McMullen and La Salle counties.
Chapline said an emergency operations center was in place from Saturday morning until noon on Sunday with Texas Task Force One in the area. Four pontoon boats were available in the event of a rescue call in addition to Texas Parks and Wildlife.
“They were deployed, but no rescues were made,” Chapline said. “There was no loss of life or rescues necessary, but we had everything in place.”
Busby said that everyone responded to the warnings, which meant no rescue calls were made.
Game Warden Chrissy Plant said it takes 24 hours for water to travel from Three Rivers to George West, then another 24 hours for it to get from George West to Lake Corpus Christi.
According to Plant, the first stage of the flood will be a flash flood followed by several days or weeks of high water levels. She said it’s important for residents who choose to remain in their homes to make long-term plans by stocking up on groceries and gasoline for generators.
The NWS predicts that Lake Corpus Christi will be full within 10 days. As of Saturday afternoon, Choke Canyon was closed to prevent flooding contributions from the Frio River.
Plant said nine additional game wardens were brought in as extra help for Live Oak County due to the increased population in the county since the flood in 2002 and the severity of this flood.
“In 2002, that gauge (Three Rivers) registered 43.19 feet on July 17, so our flood this year was less than that big one,” Chapline said. “There’s been some speculation the dry soil absorbed much of that water, so we didn’t get as much as expected.”
Chapline expected between 15-20 residents to be impacted by the flooding, as well as some along Hailey Ranch Road.
Citizens of the Good Hope area near Three Rivers are also urged to remain cautious over the next few days.
Cub Lane resident John Besada said looting was another issue during the flood of 2002.
“People broke into houses and were on boats,” Beseda said. “I took my pontoon and chased them off in 2002.”
County Commissioners Emilio Garza and Willie James and Live Oak County Sheriff Larry Busby notified residents of potentially impacted areas late last week.
“It’s not as wet as it was in 2002, and Lake Corpus Christi is empty,” Busby said. “But the problem is Highway 534 on this end of the lake. All the water has to run under those two bridges, and it’s like a funnel. There will possibly be some restriction there.”
Plant said Busby and the county commissioners have been instrumental in informing the public and coordinating the emergency response efforts.
“That’s one of the great things about Live Oak County. Neighbors helping neighbors by spreading word of the latest information, preparing properties for flood waters and keeping an eye out for any other problems,” Plant said
James said the Wednesday prediction changed by 10 feet for Thursday’s prediction.
“That’s a big jump in one day’s time,” James said. “I’m telling people that I may be sounding like Chicken Little, but all I can go by is what they are telling me.”
James also said the impact will vary depending on elevation, some could be “high and dry” while others could be cut off if they have to cross a slough.
CR 365 into River Creek Acres was closed as of Sunday evening when the water crossed the slough.
“No houses are underwater that I’m aware of,” James said.
The Nueces River was approaching the banks at Tips Park in Three Rivers as of Saturday morning. The river rose three feet between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, according to Tips Park resident Joe Esparza. The park is not being evacuated as of Monday afternoon, but the lower road is barricaded off and was closed as of 2:21 p.m. on Saturday. Residents of Tips Park were issued a warning on Friday morning to be prepared for a possible evacuation should water levels reach that high. The City of Three Rivers and Three Rivers Police Department will be tracking water levels. TRPD Sergeant Clint Davis said the safety of the park’s residents is the first priority.
South Live Oak
The Nueces River started to flood on Cub Lane near Hailey Ranch Road and Antelope Road on Sunday with water rising by six inches every two or three hours according to Beseda.
“We’ve seen some big trees go by; that’s about it,” Beseda said.
The properties on Cub Lane had a valley behind their homes with boat docks overlooking an empty slough until the water started to back feed from the south. Once it connected at the north end with the river, the flow changed direction, heading south.
“We’re prepared, and it takes a while,” Beseda said. “In 2002, we were here for 16 days.”
Beseda’s home was raised 11 feet, 4 inches off the ground when the Nueces River flooded in 1992. Two more floods followed 10 years later in 2002, the first in June and the second one a month later with much higher water levels since the lakes were filled by the first one.
Beseda said when the Nueces River reached 44 feet in 2002 there was 5 feet of water near the houses on Cub Lane.
“Once it comes, it won’t take long,” Beseda said.