A continued threat of flooding is forecast in parts of Central Texas as more rain is expected in the area and dams along the swollen Colorado River release water downstream, officials said Wednesday.
National Weather Service forecaster Jason Runyen said the already-saturated area was expected to get an additional 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 centimeters) of rain Thursday and Friday, with some isolated areas getting as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain.
“It’s not going to take hardly anything to cause additional issues with flash flooding and river flooding,” Runyen said.
The bodies of two people were found this week as the area was inundated with rains. As rivers overflowed, a bridge was destroyed, people were forced to evacuate their homes and others had to be rescued.
Llano County Emergency Management Coordinator Ron Anderson said Wednesday that while the Llano River had gone down after cresting on Tuesday, he cautioned that there was still a threat of more rain and other hazards were present after the floods.
“There are roadways that are impassable, some have been washed out. There is debris. Homes that have been evacuated are going to have to be evaluated before we can say that they are safe to re-enter,” Anderson said.
He said that with more rain in the forecast, “we really aren’t sure if this disaster has unfolded.”
In Kingsland, about 20 miles southeast of Llano, video captured a bridge crumbling as it was overrun by floodwaters from the Llano River.
Authorities said a woman’s body was found Tuesday night at a low-water crossing in Llano, located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of Austin. Earlier Tuesday, a body was found in Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, situated where the Llano River flows into the Colorado River.
The Lower Colorado River Authority has been opening flood gates along the river since Monday. Four floodgates have been opened on Mansfield Dam at Lake Travis, located northwest of Austin. The river authority said they’ll likely need to open four more by midday Thursday for a total of eight — a record number to be open at the dam with 24 gates.
“Lake Travis is more than 100 percent full,” said LCRA general manager Phil Wilson said, adding, “In the last week, we captured more water in Lake Travis than the city of Austin typically uses in four years.”
Wilson said the water being released from Lake Travis “will increase river levels on the entire river from Austin down to Matagorda Bay.”
Last week, four people were washed away when the South Llano River, which becomes the Llano River downstream, overran an RV park in Junction, Texas. Three bodies have been recovered. The search for the fourth has been suspended due to the heavy rain.