The Llano River reached historic levels of flooding Tuesday, prompting officials in Marble Falls to order evacuations and open shelters for displaced residents.
If you have not evacuated, do so immediately... Live Oak, Lakeshore Drive, Pecan Circle, Backbone, Barrier Lane, Louise, Edith, So. Ave. J, 2147 W, including Waterside and RV Park. Shelters at Meadowlakes City Hall and the Marble Falls Middle School.
— City of Marble Falls (@MarbleFalls_TX) October 16, 2018
Ron Anderson, the Llano County emergency management coordinator, said there had been "no fatalities, no injuries related to the flood" reported. In Burnet County, a body was found today near Lake LBJ. Authorities said it does not appear to be a person missing from the South Llano River flooding in Junction more than a week ago.
At a news conference Tuesday, Anderson said residents would not be able to return to their homes for 24-36 hours because the river was expected to rise again. He called the situation "absolutely hazardous" and said law enforcement would be on patrol.
“The Llano River will be due to rise again in the overnight and early morning hours," he said. "That rise is expected to be perhaps at least as great and maybe even a little bit more than what we saw early this morning, meaning somewhere between 38 and 40 are the best estimates that we have right now.”
In response to the severe weather, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 18 counties: Bastrop, Burnet, Colorado, Fayette, Hood, Jim Wells, Kerr, Kimble, La Salle, Live Oak, Llano, Mason, McMullen, Nueces, Real, San Patricio, Travis and Williamson.
KUT's Mose Buchele was at the First Baptist Church in Marble Falls, which was being used as a shelter.
Helicopters taking off from First Baptist Church in Marble Falls. Church has become flood evacuation shelter. These were going on survellience not rescue missions. pic.twitter.com/QBpsYVBvK1
— Mose Buchele (@MoseBuchele) October 16, 2018
Certain parts of the area have seen as many as 12 inches of rain in the past three days, and that sustained downpour pushed the Llano River to 30 feet above flood stage Tuesday morning. In Kingsland, floodwaters swept away a bridge across the Llano River on FM 2900.
Video of the RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland. pic.twitter.com/4HMc5zrFbA
— TxDOT Austin (@TxDOTAustin) October 16, 2018
The river topped out at nearly 40 feet Tuesday morning, but the National Weather Service expects waters to surge again Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, the Llano County Office of Emergency Managment called the flooding "historic."
The Lower Colorado River Authority has closed until further notice lakes Buchanan, LBJ, Inks, Marble Falls and Travis as a result of flooding along the Colorado River. It warned people within the Highland Lakes Watershed to "take action to protect people and property." The authority opened floodgates at Wirtz, Starcke, Mansfield, Tom Miller and Buchanan dams.
In Austin, the Austin Fire Department has issued a ban on recreational activity in all waterways within the city limits until Thursday at noon at the earliest. The city has closed Barton Springs Pool, the Barton Creek Greenbelt and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.
Abbott said this morning that the state is prepared to send resources to areas affected by flooding.
Forecasts suggest the sustained rains could continue over the next two days.
This post has been updated.