TITUS COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KSHV) – After the recent heavy rains, East Texas and Southwest Arkansas may see lakes and rivers rise another foot, pushing them into moderate or major flood stages.
KTAL Meteorologist Josh Marcisz said, “This will be the highest the water levels have been since 2015 and 2016. We had two years of flooding that was a ‘once in a generation’ type flood event.”
Lakes and rivers across the ArkLaTex are already near or above the flood stage. Rivers not in the flood stage are higher than they have been in a while.
“We have lost our ‘wiggle room’ or storage capacity to handle rain,” he said.
The Sulphur River near Talco is expected to rise to 27.5ft, a major flood stage, as more rain moves into the region this weekend. TxDOT crews closed Texas Hwy 37 between Hagansport and Bogata Thursday afternoon in preparation. Officials expect floodwaters to cover the area Friday.
Several homes in the Talco area are already flooded or at risk of flooding. Talco Fire Chief Randy Carroll says they may be inundated by Friday evening. Local officials are working to contact residents in low-lying areas and arrange for them to find lodging elsewhere until the waters recede.
Mt. Pleasant Fire Department owns a rescue boat and assists with water rescues when needed. Sometimes the fire department needs to bring a backhoe to get residents out. “Our water rescue is basically getting them to dry land. They’ll get trapped, or their house is surrounded by water.”
Carroll says most of their water rescues are drivers stuck in deep water.
“On County Road 1905, that’s the one we’ve made multiple water rescues. The fact that people are driving around the signs, but it says ‘Road Closed,’ and they’re driving around those.”
He says they’ve had to rescue people in larger four-wheel drive vehicles, and it’s not a guarantee drivers will make it through. Water levels on Co. Rd. 1905 could get up to 4′ deep.
“Be careful and do not drive through the high waters. It not only endangers you, it endangers the firefighters trying to get to you,” said Carroll.
In Horatio, Arkansas, the Little River is expected to reach 29.5 feet on Thursday, on the border of moderate to major flooding.
Marcisz says the golf course west of Horatio is expected to flood. Several acres of grazing and farmland will see considerable lowland flooding as well. Ranchers are advised to evacuate cattle and farm machinery to higher ground and make preparations for a major flood.
Water Data for Texas reports that Wright Patman Lake in Texarkana, Lake O’ the Pines in Marion County and Lake Bob Sandlin, southwest of Mt. Pleasant, are already at 100% capacity.
Although current estimates are high, Marcisz says we can’t know how much the levels may rise until the rain starts. Both areas are expected to fall back below the flood stage at some point this weekend.