Breckenridge avoids more flooding Tuesday night, emergency workers remain prepared
The City of Breckenridge managed to avoid any major problems on Tuesday night after the city received more rain Tuesday afternoon. As a precaution, at around 4:30 p.m., the residents living along Gonsolus Creek and in other low lying areas were asked to move to higher, but the creek never went over its banks or caused any serious flooding.
“Right now everything seems to be good; the rain has stopped,” said Heather Robertson, Breckenridge City Secretary. “The Gonsolus didn’t get out of its banks again, and there were no major issues last night. It’s receded between 6 to 8 feet, and that’s good. So, for any rain we receive today, that’s going to be helpful.”
Robertson said although they cancelled the evacuation notice and the residents in the low lying areas should be OK for the present time, they do need to be prepared to evacuate quickly if there is more rain.
“The minute we know of any future weather coming, we may need to ask them to evacuate.,” she said. “The ground is saturated, and it’s all going to flow into that creek, so that creek could rise quickly, depending on how much rain we get.”
She said even if Breckenridge doesn’t receive rain directly, runoff from rains in the sorrunding areas could cause the creek to rise.
The level of the creek is also affected by water being released from the floodgates at the Hubbard Creek Reservoir.
According to City Manager Andy Mccuistion, on Wednesday morning, the West Central Texas Municipal Water District had 12 flood gates opened at Hubbard Creek Reservoir to release water into Hubbard Creek. The water is being released to try and prevent flooding in homes along the lake.
“They were going to close them tonight, depending on the weather and the rain events in the watershed,” he said. “But right now, they’re saying they have more water coming in than going out and they’re going to leave them open for another 36 hours.”
McCuistion said one concern about the water being released into Hubbard Creek is it feeds into the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, along with water from Gonsolus Creek.
“My understanding is the Clear Fork is rising,” he said. “Hubbard and Gonsolus flow into the Clear Fork, and that’s rising. At some point, when that gets full, we quit draining.”
He said as of Wednesday morning, water was continuing to recede in Gonsolus Creek and, if the West Central Texas Municipal Water District is able to close the flood gates in a short time before there is any more significant rain, it could help prevent more flooding.
WATER TREATMENT PLANT
McCuistion said they are pumping water from the water treatment plant and there was about 18 feet of water in all the towers as of Wednesday morning.
However, he said the City is still under Stage 4 water restrictions and a water boil notice. He said the City’s water is safe to use for flushing toilets and taking showers, but should not be used for cooking or drinking without boiling it first. He said residents also need make sure they pour out any ice from their icemakers. The city is also handing out drinking water at the American Legion Hall at 611 E. Walker St.
“We still want people to conserve water because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” McCuistion said. “We’re trying to fill up the towers so we can make the water last as long as possible.”
He said they are flushing the ends of the water lines right now to bring the chlorine levels up, and once that is done they will be able to take E coli bacteria samples and send them to Abilene to be tested. He said it will take around 24 hours to get the results back.
“They’ ll send the samples hopefully by noon, and it’ll take 24 hours to get those samples back. So it’ll be tomorrow at noon before we got those results back,” McCuistion said. “If they all come back good , then we’ll go off boil water notice. If parts of it’s good and parts of them are bad, we’ll open sections of town and let those other folks know we have to retest and it’ll be another 24 hours. The best case scenario is that they all come back good.”
McCuistion said so far he’s been pleased with the way the city and county workers have worked to together to help keep residents in the city and county safe.
“We did 22 water rescues; we regret the one fatality. The water rose very quickly, in 15 minutes it came up. Faster than we could respond to it,” he said. “Of course we still don’t know that it’s over yet, we could still get some more. But what we’ve handled so far I’m pleased with the way everybody has responded.”