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PARKER COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials in Parker County are recommending that people evacuate because of the chances for a “record flood event” along the Brazos River.

Residents in low-lying areas are being asked to vacate neighborhoods by 8 p.m. Wednesday. Parker County Judge Mark Riley said, “The overriding thing we want to encourage everyone to do is evacuate all the areas along the river that are flood-prone.”

As it stands, the Brazos River is expected to rise above flood stage Thursday morning. Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator George Teague said, “The water from the second [flood] gate being opened will arrive in Parker County around 8:30 tonight, with the river cresting at its maximum around 1:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.”

While the evacuations are voluntary, Judge Riley has signed a disaster declaration. Officials began notifying residents early Thursday morning about the potential of the river cresting – around 25 feet. The areas of concern are in Mountain River, Soda Springs, Brock, Lazy Bend and Horseshoe Bend.

Judge Riley said the cooperation of residents is important and they need to “be sensitive to the lives of our emergency personnel.” The Judge recalled the devastating floods of 2007 when dozens of residents refused to evacuate. “Our emergency services personnel ended up going out at two o’clock in the morning and trying to rescue somebody on the top of a house who refused to leave.”

The City of Weatherford is working with Parker County Animal Control to evacuate and shelter animals and livestock, but residents are being advised to take their pets with them. Animal control officers are going door-to-door to identify animals in need of help.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for areas along the Brazos River in Parker County. CBS 11 Storm Team Meteorologist Larry Mowry said people in the area can expect, “Scattered storms this evening and again tomorrow, with higher rain chances as we move into Friday and Saturday. Between one and three inches of rain could fall in the area between now and Saturday night.”

As for how far flood waters could possibly reach, Judge Riley said, “I think the anticipation is it could come all the way up to the general entranceway of Horseshoe Bend. If it hits 26 or 27 feet there’s not much dry land left.”

Brazos River Authority officials have opened flood gates on the Morris Sheppard Dam at Possum Kingdom Lake. Workers have already pre-positioned barricades on roads known to flood, heavy equipment has been staged throughout Parker County and National Guard swift water rescue teams are on alert.

As it stands, the county is working with state officials to open evacuation shelters. Residents are being reminded to only call 911 for emergencies. Anyone needing non-emergency assistance, related to possible Parker County flooding, should call 817-594-3213.

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