West Texas Rains Cause Problems


Mexican authorities in the state of Chihuahua had cut back outflow from one of the major dams on the Rio Conchos, but unfortunately more rain fell in Chihuahua over the weekend and that could produce more high volumes of floodwater into the Rio Grande, which last week began flooding homes and damaging riverside roads and facilities from Presidio to Amistad reservoir.

The entire Big Bend region in West Texas region has had unusually high rainfall for several weeks. Texas state game wardens and state park employees are coordinating with U.S. border patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Presidio city and county officials, forming an incident command team to take precautions and safeguard the area. Low-lying eastern and western edges of the city of Presidio have flooded, and some homes have been lost, though so far floodwater has not entered downtown.

The focus near Presidio is to try to maintain rain-soaked earthen levees, which have already breached in several places. So far, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Fort Leaton historic structure has remained above the floodwaters, though water has risen into the park picnic area. Big Bend Ranch State Park riverside campgrounds are likely gone, though nobody can get in to assess damage since the river road FM 170 is closed with much of it underwater. 

TPWD’s Barton Warnock Center is so far unaffected. Sauceda is fine but difficult to access; the only way in is down dirt 4WD roads from the north. Meanwhile, water is still coming in where the levee broke downstream of Fort Leaton, and it’s now slowly backing up toward Presidio.

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