Heavy predawn rains across Brownwood and areas of Brown County Sunday prompted a flash flood warning by the National Weather Service and CodeRED telephone notification to citizens by the City of Brownwood.
As much as 5 inches of rain was recorded in some areas of Brownwood, largely in the western sector of the city, and rainfall of more than 4 1/2 inches was also reported in the Blanket and Zephyr areas.
City of Brownwood Street Department personnel and other staff were out before 6 a.m. Sunday monitoring the rise of water in local creeks and streams, as runoff filled them and spilled into the low-lying areas than typically flood.
Don Hatcher, city engineer, issued the CodeRED advisory to inform residents that localized flooding was occurring. Late Sunday afternoon, Hatcher said flooding was experienced in several apartments and in the 600 block of Hemphill. Five feet of water closed the Vine Street underpass for several hours Sunday, and several side streets near Adams Branch around the Traffic T were also briefly blocked by water.
Hatcher said rainfall amounts varied dramatically, with only 2 inches measured in south Brownwood. including the Brownwood landfill location off Highway 45.
The flash flood warning remained in effect until 2 p.m. Sunday.
The rains fell on soggy ground that had absorbed one inch or more of rain Friday morning. Several residents who reported rainfall amounts said this accumulation was still in their gauges when the Sunday morning storm hit. Some gauges overflowed when the 5-inch capacity was topped.
“The heaviest rainfall appears to have fallen on the west side of the city, particularly on Willis Creek and Adams Branch,” Hatcher said. “Roads under water were too numerous to actually close, particularly with the amount of rainfall falling in such a short time. The Vine Street underpass had over 5 feet of water. Cordell Street’s low water crossing, Coleman Avenue, Brady Avenue and Hemphill were all under water.
“Vincent Street between Avenue B and C had pavement washed out, as well as Avenue B between Austin Avenue and Vincent Street, both at their crossing of the WPA ditch.”
Hatcher said the flow of Adams Branch was greater than the flow of the Pecan Bayou slough, and flow pushed water up the slough past West Commerce. One lane of C. C. Woodson was closed between FM 2525 and South Broadway.
Market Place Boulevard between Main Boulevard and Davis Lane was also closed.
“These are the significant areas or paths that potentially affect the most motorists,” Hatcher said. “Numerous state and county roads were also under water or had some part of them closed.”
Lake Brownwood has seen a sharp rise since Friday, when it stood exactly at spillway level, 1,425.0 feet above sea level. On Saturday, it was just under 1,425.1, but by Sunday evening it stood at 1,425.5 and apparently still rising.
Showers and thundershowers continued to pop up across the area Sunday afternoon, mixing brief periods of rain with sunny skies. With the threat of flooding still possible, Hatcher urged motorists who had to drive to avoid running water and to listen to local radio stations for updates. He added that the National Weather Service in San Angelo continuously monitors and communicates with City of Brownwood staff concerning severe weather situations.
Weather forecasters hold out a slight chance of rain — only 20 percent — today.