Hidalgo County Emergency Management Officials are advising communities along the Rio Grande to be on high alert. River levels continue to rise in Rio Grande City, Starr County, due to rainfall from the latest Tropical Depression #2 and releases from Falcon Dam. A similar increase in river level may be felt in western Hidalgo County communities as early as overnight.
There is a potential for some localized flooding from the Rio Grande, but NO mandatory evacuation order has been issued; however, residents should be prepared for the possibility of a voluntary self-evacuation, which would be announced through the news media as well as by law enforcement visiting the areas at risk. If you see you are in danger, though, please evacuate yourself and notify authorizes of the danger.
“Remain weather aware and listen intently to the advisories issued by your local public officials and law enforcement,” said Tony Pena, Hidalgo County Emergency Management Coordinator. “We are still under a flash flood watch, and the very nature of flash floods is that they happen very quickly. There will not be much time to get out if an evacuation is called for, so we need residents to help us by preparing ahead of time.”
One community, El Rincon del Diablo, located south of the river levees near Granjeno, was already alerted this morning to self-evacuate. Of those who were at home, all residents were cooperative and understanding. Diversions into the interior floodway are ongoing, according to the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission. Anzalduas County Park is inaccessible at this time. Regional water search and rescue teams based out of Mission and Weslaco are on stand-by, as well. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that all international bridges except Los Ebanos are open. Federal and local law enforcement officials continue to be the eyes on the ground for the Hidalgo County Emergency Operations Center.
Shelters have not been opened at this time, although they can be activiated based on need. Pumps remained staged at critical junctures to ensue de-watering operations as necessary. Mosquito control operations that were underway after Hurricane Alex have temporarily stopped until the passage of this severe weather. The three county judges of Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties sent a letter to Texas Department of State Health Commissioner David Lakey today requesting aerial spraying for the region.
Hidalgo County Emergency Management Officials continue to be in contact with area cities, counties, elected officials and other governmental and non-profit agencies. The situation will be monitored overnight and until the risk subsides.