GLEN ROSE- Approximately 205 billion gallons is enough to fill Lake Granbury five times.
It is also the estimated amount of rainfall that fell during last week’s historic flooding around Somervell, Hood and Erath counties, according to officials with the Brazos River Authority.
A spokesperson for the BRA estimated that enough rain fell to fill the lake – which according to Waterdatafortexas.org has a maximum capacity of 125,756 acre-feet – just north of Somervell County five times. A simple conversion with the help of a conversion table brings the estimated total rainfall to a mind-boggling 204,888,860,269.06003 gallons of water.
Because of last week’s historic flooding, homes, businesses and families are now facing a time of trouble – both big and small.
Outside of Gov. Greg Abbott's declaration of 46 counties to be in a state of emergency - up 15 from the original June 1 declaration and now includes Somervell County, representatives of the BRA, Somervell County Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordination Dwayne Griffin, and county residents recently gave their re-cap of the week-long rain.
US Senator Ted Cruz also endorsed Abbott's efforts earlier this week during a speech while on the US Senate floor.
Brazos River Authority, 'It is extremely dangerous'
Judy Pierce from the Brazos River Authority reported the De Cordova Bend Dam of Lake Granbury would still need to release water at a higher-than-usual rate over the next several days, but the release during last week’s rain was jaw dropping
“The most the dam let out was at one point was 69,900 CFS,” Pierce said. “It stayed there for about a two hour time period and then it came back down pretty quickly. It was the fourth largest amount of water we’ve released at one time.”
“From May 27 to June 7 the total volume of water released was about 650,000 acre-feet,” Pierce noted. “Releases are expected to continue the next couple of days where we currently are at. For every day we’re releasing about 40,000 acre-feet a day.”
According to Price, the gauge located in the Somervell County portion of the Brazos River crested on the morning of Friday, June 3, and it was then that the river entered into the category of a major flood stage.
“After cresting, it immediately moved down. On average, the gauge is 7 feet deep and at the peak of the flooding on June 3 the depth of the water was 35.3 feet,” Price explained. “It was about 28 feet deeper than it normally would be.”
On June 4 around noon the gauge hit it’s lowest part of the action stage and on June 7 at 1PM it measured in at 20.5 feet, which is below the action stage, according to the BRA.
“The action stage is a period designated at what appears to be approximately 25 feet,” Pierce added. “What it is made for is to give people time going into a flood situation to have time to move cattle and equipment that might be in the floodplain zone around the river. It is out of that stage now and is predicted to stay at this stage now through the weekend.”
Pierce advises for those who may want to brave the cool waters this weekend to stay off the Brazos, and other rivers and lakes, until the water has time to return to normal levels.
“It is going at about 23,000 [cubic feet per second] right now and I know that most tube rental places in Glen Rose cut [rentals] off at about 3,000 CFS,” Pierce said. “It is extremely dangerous.”
Griffin updates conditions of Somervell County
Somervell County Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator Dwayne Griffin reported that there were indeed a few areas of the county that sustained major flood damage over the five-day period from June 3-7.
“County Road 1008 was damaged quite severely out on the 5000 block, it got scoured down to the road base,” Griffin said. “County Road 1007 had a couple of areas that got tore up also. CR 413 had road damage that occurred down the sides of the road.”
According to one county official, roughly 98% of all roads in Somervell County are paved. While this is normally a benefit a vast majority of the time, conditions such as those experienced last week can leave those roads in dire need of repair.
Not only were there roads damaged, but also there was also confirmed damage to a bridge at Squaw Valley Golf Course and the river walk along the Paluxy River a few blocks off the downtown Glen Rose square.
“The golf course lost a bridge and the city had a major loss with the river walk,” Griffin said. “It got tore up a lot. As far as I know, those are the only ones that have sustained major damage. However, there are other roads here and there that are beginning to show signs of water damage.”
According to Griffin, once a full report is created for the flood damage it will be sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since the county was under a state of emergency, FEMA should cover up-to-75 percent of the total damage costs, Griffin noted.
“Right now we’re just discussing what we’re going to do with the golf course bridge, Griffin said. “The bridge itself is used for utility for moving their equipment back and forth. If we get some FEMA money, we may be moving it to higher ground to where it won’t get washed out again.”
A full report of personal property loss was not available as of press time.
20 years and it’s ‘never been this high’
Roughly three miles from the historic Glen Rose downtown square, Cedars on the Brazos Bed and Breakfast is located quite a bit closer to the bank of the Brazos River than it was last week.
The owner, Janice Lewis, who also lives in the bed and breakfast with her husband, has yet to see anything like this flood while residing on the property.
“We bought the land in 1997, it’s been almost 20 years, and I have never seen the water as high as it is right now,” Lewis said
The bed and breakfast opened 16 years ago. The cabin the bed and breakfast is in has no damage, but an area on the bank of the river that many baptisms and other events have taken place is now underwater.
According to Lewis some of the picnic tables, benches and chairs were washed away and whatever items were left are now submerged in water.
“Most of the old-timers here in Glen Rose know this property 'the garden spot,'" Lewis said. "It’s a lower area that we call 'the meadow.' It has never had water in it and now it is flooding."
Sen. Cruz backs flood recovery efforts
The reach of pleas for assistance has gone beyond those immediately affected. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz delivered a speech Tuesday, June 7 on the Senate floor, where he pledged to work closely with state and local government officials to ensure a speedy recovery, backed Gov. Greg Abbott's for federal assistance to help those affected, and asked for condolences to be sent to the 16 families who lost a loved one - which included nine soldiers stationed at Fort Hood - during the historic flooding.
“Mr. President, my home state of Texas is strong and resilient. Texans aren’t people who tire easily, and we certainly don’t give up when the going gets tough," Cruz said. "But that doesn’t mean that the State of Texas hasn’t faced its share of adversity. Over the last few weeks, the resolve of our great state has been tested with historic flooding that has taken at least 16 lives across Texas.
“[...] Heidi and I right now, along with millions of Americans, are lifting up in prayer those Texans who have lost their lives, who have lost their homes, the families that are suffering due to this flooding," Cruz added.
“And we’re also lifting up the first responders who so bravely risk everything to keep us safe. In particular, I want to take a moment to praise the Red Cross," the former GOP presidential candidate continued. "I had the privilege yesterday of speaking with the CEO of the Red Cross to thank them directly for their efforts on the ground – helping people who are suffering, helping people who have lost their home, who are struggling. And you know, she and I shared what we’ve seen in tragedy after tragedy after tragedy, which is in the face of disaster, in the face of adversity, Texans and Americans come together.
“[...] As the water continues to recede and the wreckage is being cleared, my office will continue to work very closely with local and state government officials, along with the entire Texas delegation, to help ensure a smooth recovery process, including offering, as I already have, my full support and assistance when Gov. Abbott requests federal aid for those afflicted by this disaster," Cruz concluded. "And while Texas continues to rebound from these torrential floods, our nation is also flooded with circumstances that require the very same strength and resolve that we face in the face of tragedy.”
Cruz took time during his speech to individually thank and pay remembrance to the nine Fort Hood soldiers who tragically lost their lives when their truck overturned into a flooded creek. Those nine included Spc. Yingming Sun, Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel Colonvazquez, Spc. Christine Faith Armstrong, Pfc. Brandon Austin Banner, Pfc. Zachery Nathaniel Fuller, Pvt. Isaac Lee Deleon, Pvt. Eddy Raelaurin Gates, Pvt. Tysheena Lynette James, and Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey.
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_GRR
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith