Brazos River crests in Richmond, but danger remains

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The Brazos may have crested in Richmond, but parts of SE Texas remain under water. (KTRK)

The Brazos River has crested in some of the locations so far hardest hit by the floods.

In Richmond the river reached 54.8 feet before today finally beginning its decline. Now it's a question as to when many can begin the return to their homes.

"You can't go back there right now," said Cosmo Zamrano, who lives in a mobile home adjacent to the river in the Edgewood Trailer Park.

He was among many today in line at the Citizen Recovery Center now open in Richmond at Highway 90 A and Riversedge Drive. The American Red Cross is handing out cleaning supplies, toiletries and even food and water; critically important supplies, especially to those with water in their homes.

"They go, 'Mommy, I want to go home.' It's sad for me. I'm crying," said Martina Maldonado.

Maldonado has three daughters, all younger than 10 years old. She struggles with what to tell them when they ask when they can go home.

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The water may be receding, but residents in Ft. Bend aren't out of the woods just yet.

"I just told them they need to be strong, need not to ask so many questions because sometimes I don't have an answer," she said.

In Simonton, the mayor says the river dropped 7 inches overnight. In Richmond, it's down some, too, though not as much. County leaders say they know of at least 350 homes that have taken on water. That's a conservative number. It could be many more. They just can't get everywhere yet to assess damage.

All eyes right now are looking toward the west, and the rain that is still forecast to come. County leaders say 2-6 inches of rain is forecast through Saturday.

Texas A&M and its Veterinary Emergency Team are set up in Simonton to help animals rescued from floodwaters.

Their team, along with the Houston SPCA, is now going back into neighborhoods hardest hit by floodwaters looking for stranded animals.

"Our pets are like family. I was excited to see him crawl out from underneath the grill," said Joe Burasco who is volunteering with the group as they conduct animal rescues. They found his cat still at this home earlier today.

They're bringing the animals back to a command center set up at Simonton Community Church. The animals get triaged. A & M Veterinarian & Professor Dr. Deb Zoran says the flood waters are so dangerous because of what's in them: chemicals, pesticides, gasoline and oil, in addition to any predators.

"That's not healthy for you, me or the animal," she says.

Some rescues are more involved than others.

Last night near Fulshear, Curtis O'brien, Richard Zapalac and Craig Brady came across a cow.

"It was definitely suffering and struggling . It wouldn't have lasted much longer there my itself," said Brady.

It took them an hour and a half, but they were finally able to get it to dry land. You can watch video of that here.

That was rescue not affiliated with the A&M team but is a good example of what crews are finding, repeatedly.


Boat rescues are underway near Rosharon where the Brazos River is still on the rise.

Two people were pulled from a pickup truck that was pushed into the water as Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Ehling was on the scene.

The couple was trying to get to higher ground. They thought their truck could make it, but six inches of water on the road proved too much of a match.

"Total terror, total terror," Alica Matura says. "There is nothing like it, ever."

Tony Conte and Matura never thought they would need to be rescued.

The couple took their truck out of a flooded neighborhood and onto FM 1462.

But the water was already six inches deep and moving so fast that it was strong enough to push the truck off the road.

"The current was getting stronger and stronger and finally and finally the current just swept us right off the road," Conte says.

"Water was rushing in and I was freaking out, I was shaking, it's scary and it happens fast," Matura adds.

Conte says he truly believes he and Matura's lives were saved. Any longer, and he says they likely would have been swept away.

Rescue crews say the water is continuing to rise, and another three to four feet could be coming.

Meantime, the Brazos River at Richmond is slowly falling. It is still above major flood stage and is forecast to stay above major flood stage through Tuesday, so it could be days before people get back to their homes.

Many of those who evacuated woke up in area shelters on Friday.

Janie Vega, who is staying in a shelter, said, "We don't know what we are going to go home to, I mean we at least want to see how far the water, as far as the neighbors, try have been saying it's up to four feet and that's about how high my trailer is, about four feet."

She added, "We didn't get a chance to pack or nothing, we just grabbed some little things and just came over here."

Another flood victim, Melinda Gendotti, said, "We were in our house since Monday and we were doing good, we had electricity, we had water, so we figured it would be OK, and then the water kept coming up into the driveway. I am little concerned with all the rain. ... If it doesn't go down or had enough time to go down before all the rain, it might cause a major issue for inside the house."

RELATED: Waterlogged Harris County braces for more
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By nightfall, northern Harris County neighborhoods that were dry at lunchtime were under several inches of water.

FBCSO prepares to conduct water rescues

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abc13's Pooja Lodhia takes a boat ride through the Brazos River in Fort Bend County.

Rescue workers in Booth are watching out for looters, because so many people have evacuated their homes. Most people left everything they own in their houses and garages. Local law enforcement officials are going door to door on an airboat, keeping the area safe.

"We want to make sure that if somebody is here, it's the rightful owner," explained FBCSO Sgt. Rodney Grimmer. "We definitely want to make sure that the house is safe and the person's belongings are safe. They're already dealing with a lot of stuff."

If you need to evacuate, contact the Fort Bend County Sheriffs Office.
Related Topics:
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