Six Dead, Dozens Rescued as Texas Floods Reach Record Levels

The Brazos River is expected to crest three feet higher than ever before on Tuesday

Photo: Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle/AP

Six people have died and many more have been rescued as torrential rains have caused the Brazos River in Texas to flood to record levels, the Associated Press reports.

Four of the six killed by the floods were found in Washington County, between Austin and Houston. Officials confirmed to PEOPLE that Pyarali Rajebhi Umatiya, 59, was found in her submerged vehicle, Darren Charles Mitchell, 21, was discovered near his overturned truck, Lela Holland, 64, died when her mobile home was flooded and Jimmy Wayne Schaeffer, 49, was swept away after driving his truck into high waters.

Forty people rescued over the holiday weekend were residents of a low-lying neighborhood in Simonton, a small town in Fort Bend County, the AP reports. Another 150 households were evacuated in Rosenberg, about 35 miles south of Houston, after Mayor Cynthia McConathy declared a state of disaster for the city and ordered a mandatory evacuation for many residents on Saturday, according to the city’s website.

“From Sunday afternoon on, we’ll be in new territory. We just don’t know how high it will go,” County Judge Robert Hebert said in a Fort Bend County Emergency Operations Center conference call on Saturday, according to the evacuation order.

The Brazos, which runs through Texas from New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to crest at 53.5 feet by midday Tuesday in Fort Bend County. This is three feet higher than the river’s previous highest crest, and authorities expect the record floods to cause extensive damage across the state.

“The ditches are full, the river’s high, there’s nowhere else for that water to go,” Beth Wolf, a Fort Bend County spokeswoman, told the AP.

Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted a satellite picture of the swollen Brazos River on Saturday. The picture shows the areas around the river flooded with massive amounts of rain and river water.

Authorities said rainfall in the last week has ranged from four inches in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to 30 inches in Washington County, according to the New York Times. And the rain has yet to stop falling: The National Weather Service has predicted that anywhere from eight to 12 inches of rain could fall in parts of central and southeastern Texas through the end of this week.

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