Even with the Early Morning Storms, the Brazos River Remains Low. 25 Years ago, it was a Different Story.

The Brazos River in Richmond is currently at Gage Elevation 9.94. Morning rains have slightly increased levels along the Brazos; however, based on the forecasts the Brazos in Richmond should remain below Richmond Gage 10. Based on the 7-day extended forecast, no flooding along the Brazos River is anticipated.

WGRFC Brazos River at Richmond Forecast (10/21/2019)

This Week

As of 11 am, the early morning storms have produced as much as 3 inches of rainfall in the southern most portion of Fort Bend County with other portions of the County seeing between 0.3 to 1.5 inches.

WGRFC Latest Briefing (10/21/2019)

The remainder of Monday through Wednesday should be sunny to mostly sunny skies with highs approaching 80° and lows in the upper 50s to low 60s. The region is expected to see another cold front Friday bringing an increased chance for rain Thursday and Friday.

NWS Houston/Galveston 7 Day Forecast (10/21/2019)

Based on the forecasts, the lower Brazos River Watershed including Fort Bend County could see 1.25 to 1.75 inches of rainfall over the next 7 days.

pivotalweather.com 7-Day Precipitation Forecast (10/21/2019)

October History

25 Years Ago, today, the Brazos River in Richmond crested at Gage Elevation 50.30. Prior to the 2016 and 2017 floods, the October 1994 flood was considered the modern day flood of record or since the construction of the reservoir system. And it was the first flood event that I remember, sitting in my dad’s car, watching as he checked the staff gauge at the I-10 Bridge over the Brazos River in Austin County.

WGRFC Historic Crests on the Brazos at Richmond

The October 1994 flood was caused by severe rainfall that occurred upstream of Hempstead. College Station received about 13.39 inches in a 24 hour period with portions of the watershed seeing over 20 inches from October 15 through October 19. A full summary of the USGS Gage Report for the 1994 storm event can be found here. For reference, the USGS’s report on Hurricane Harvey (2017) is also available.

NWS Houston/Galveston October 17th 1994: SE Texas Floods
USGS October 1994 Gage Report Rainfall Totals

This rainfall would cause rises on the Brazos River downstream of Brazos and Grimes Counties that would finally arrive in Richmond on October 21, causing structural flooding to occur along the Brazos River. Unofficial reports show approximately 125 homes in the Simonton area suffered damage.

The 1994 floods would set the bar for the type of storms and floods that the industry assumed we would be most impacted by. This would result in flooding during “sunny” conditions from rainfall that would not occur locally in Fort Bend County. This type of flood means that residents would sit and wait for flooding to occur during sunny conditions, giving residents several days to plan for the flood. This would be the assumption for the next 23 year.

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey changed how we approached flooding along the Brazos River. Harvey showed that local rainfall (downstream of Hempstead) could create significant rises along the Brazos River which could reduce the time available for flood preparation/response. It also means that flood fighting could be required under severe and/or wet conditions increasing the chance of injuries and overall life safety concerns. This was the main reason I decided to create this site and keep it active. And as always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, or support to improve this site for the betterment of communities along the Lower Brazos River.

Storms like the 1994 flood, along with the May 2015, May 2016, Hurricane Harvey, and May 7th 2019 floods, are good reminders on the importance of preparing yourself prior to these events occurring and the importance of flood insurance to protect yourself from losses. For more information on preparedness and flood insurance, please visit Ready.Gov and FloodSmart.Gov.

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