Texas neighborhood told to evacuate now as levee may unleash floodwaters at any moment

Residents in Texas are ordered to evacuate as a levee is in danger of collapsing as rains from Tropical Depression Imelda flood the area, officials said.

The levee is holding back enough water to fill about 11,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick ordered the immediate evacuation of the Gilbert Lakes Estates neighborhood near Beaumont about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The Green Pond Gully levee is “deteriorating and could break at any moment,” officials said.

The levee holds about 4,600 to 5,600 acres of water, officials said. One acre-foot of water is enough to cover an entire acre with one foot of water.

“Rescue Boats are (sparse) at the moment,” officials said. “However, we do have several en route to that area. If you live in the area and have a boat, please pick up your neighbors and go to the (Highway) 365 overpass at IH10.”

Residents on Facebook showed panic and frustration in response to the evacuation.

“That’s all fine and good except the roadways are only getting more and more congested so evacuation routes will be clogged. This is well into a (nightmare),” a person said in a Facebook comment.

The storm is drenching the eastern coast of Texas off the Gulf of Mexico with heavy rainfall, flooding and even a tornado, McClatchy news group reported.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.