Some moving, others staying after latest Texas flooding

Juan A. Lozano
Associated Press

Simonton, Texas – — In 18 years, Southeast Texas resident Art Myrick says he’s been ordered or asked to evacuate his home near the Brazos River about 20 times, but he didn’t always do so and the house never flooded — until now.

Flooding comes with living in Simonton, a small town west of Houston. But since retiring four years ago, the 66-year-old has thought about moving to San Antonio, where he has land to build a new home. This latest round of flooding helped him make up his mind about leaving.

“We’re gone. Getting too old to live with this,” Myrick said of him and his wife Wednesday, while sitting on a cot inside a Red Cross shelter in Brookshire. “For us, the Lord is in charge of everything and maybe this is his final message to us — a sign it’s time to move on. I hate it because I love that house.”

Simonton, which has about 800 residents, and other communities in Texas continued Wednesday to deal with flooding from rivers and waterways swollen by heavy rain last week, and from a new round of thunderstorms drenching the state.

Hundreds of residents remained evacuated from their homes as the Brazos River reached 54.7 feet in Fort Bend County, where Simonton is located, before finally beginning to slowly fall. But additional rain this week could mean it might take days or even weeks before the Brazos and other waterways drop to normal levels. The Neches River in East Texas and the Colorado River extending southeast of Austin also were overflowing.

The storms have prompted flooding in parts of Texas that two years ago had run dry because of drought conditions. They are the latest in a string of torrential rains since May 2015 that have put swaths of the state underwater.

Southeast Texas has been hit particularly hard and often, including storms in March that dumped up to a foot of rain in some areas and brought record flooding not seen since 1884 along the Sabine River. In April, more than a foot of rain fell in parts of Houston, submerging scores of subdivisions and several major highways, forcing the closure of schools and knocking out power.

State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said the average annual rainfall in Texas over the last century has increased about 5 to 10 percent.