Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday

This weekend is the 2019 Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday in the State of Texas. You can purchase certain emergency preparation supplies tax free beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, and ending at midnight on Monday, April 29. There is no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase, and you do not need to issue an exemption certificate to claim the exemption. Please visit the Tax’s Comptroller’s Website for more information, including a list of qualifying and excluded supplies. Hurricane Season is just around the corner. Don’t wait until the next storm is in the Gulf before preparing yourself and your family.

Brazos River Update – Week of April 8th

The Brazos River in Richmond is currently at Gage Elevation 13.42 feet (Below Action Stage). Based on the rainfall received upstream of Richmond, the WGRFC has issued a forecast for the Brazos River in Richmond. As of 8:27 AM, the WGRFC is forecasting the Brazos River to enter Action Stage (Gage 20) on Wednesday and reach Gage Elevation 42.3 feet on Saturday morning.

Weekend Recap

Overall the lower portions of the watershed received slightly less rain than anticipated being on the lower side of the initial 1 to 3 inches of rainfall. In fort Bend County, we saw a few gages topping at around 1.5 inches, but the majority of the County saw around or less than 1 inch. Upstream of Hempstead, the watershed received between 1.5 to 3 inches over the weekend with a peak rainfall exceeding 5 inches to 6 inches in isolated areas upstream of Bryan/College Station.

This Week

After the weekend rain, this week includes sunny to mostly sunny skies with rain chances less than 20% through Friday. The sunny conditions appear to be short lived has we have the potential for another round of storms working through southeast Texas over the weekend. There is currently low confidence in the severity of the storms, but overall the forecasts are showing between 1 to 2 inches through Monday morning. We will continue to monitor the development of this system, especially with the current forecast of the Brazos River and provide updates as needed.

Reservoir Status

Summary of Current Reservoir Status (PDF)

Brazos River – Potential Heavy Rain Event

As many of you are aware, the NWS has issued forecasts for a severe weather system to develop over much of the eastern half of Texas. Based on this morning’s forecast, the Brazos River Watershed, south of Waco, could receive 2 to 3 inches through Sunday. Like similar Spring storms, we have the potential for isolated areas receiving as much as 3 to 6 inches. At this moment, the heaviest rainfall appears to be located upstream of Hempstead. Overall, the forecasts are showing that this system should not produce major flooding, but we do have a slight risk of some localized highwater with a threat of tornado and hail activity.

Based on the information provided this morning, we could see a rise in the Brazos River; however, at this time, we do not anticipate flooding to occur. Currently, the Brazos River in Richmond is at Gage Elevation 12.88 feet with no forecast published. As the system develops and actual rainfall accumulates, we could see forecasts released along the Brazos River. We will continue to monitor the conditions and provide any updates as things develop.

Important Harvey Relief Program for Homeowners

Here is important information about a new program the State is administering to help with reimbursement for Hurricane Harvey related repairs. Please contact the GLO office directly if you need help, or Congressman Olson’s office for assistance.

Do you have out-of-pocket expenses from home repairs from Hurricane Harvey? If so, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) just announced they have a program that may help you cover the cost!

The GLO will start accepting applications THIS THURSDAY for the new Homeowner Reimbursement Program. With this program, eligible homeowners can apply to receive up to $50,000 to cover out-of-pocket expenses from Harvey repairs. Folks in Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties who have completed their repairs prior to the application launch date (Thursday, February 28, 2019) are encouraged to apply. Residents of Harris County and the City of Houston are not eligible, but both the city and county will have a similar program for homeowners. Please visit the GLO’s website for more information and to apply. Funds are limited, so folks are encouraged to apply as soon as the application goes live, on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The website has a list of the documents you will need to include with your application. You can also email cdr@recovery.texas.gov or call 1-844-475-5000 if you have any questions about the program. Also, please contact my office at 281-494-2690 if you have any Harvey recovery related questions. My staff is happy to help however they can.

I’m honored to represent you in Congress. For more information or to sign up for my E-newsletter, please visit my website, www.olson.house.gov.

Very respectfully,
Pete Olson

Brazos River Update – January 9th

Update from Leveen Management Services:

Quick update on the current conditions. River has passed original projections and is currently 46.3 and not quite crested yet. Looking upstream at Hempstead and San Felipe, those gauges are showing crest and currently on the way back down which means we are very close on seeing our peak down at Richmond. Rain forecasts for later this week have been dropped quite a bit and look like they may push out of our way completely. If we do see rain, looks like Saturday will be our day. Currently, all districts are in great shape and have zero issues. Not much pumping taking place each day, just enough to keep internal water levels as low as possible from the overnight everyday drainage. All levees are still untouched from the river and we don’t anticipate them having any water on them at all for the rest of this river event. LMS will continue to monitor the river and rain forecasts as well as inspections throughout all drainage facilities.

Hopefully we see the crest soon and the river dropping rapidly. We will keep everyone updated if we see additional changes in any of the forecasts.

River Projections – 01/03

A quick update for everyone after the recent rains throughout the day and into the evening on Wednesday. LMS continued to pump down each district last night to insure full storage throughout all drainage facilities. After inspections, there are no issues from the recent heavy rains, but they will continue to monitor starting first thing this morning. LMS will do some minor pumping in the morning to completely clear out the districts and continue inspections throughout the day.

With these rains, the river has a new projection of 44.7ft by next week. Currently, at 37.9 and still dropping, this should open up almost all district gates to let remaining water flow out via gravity before the river starts to rise again. Forecasts are pretty quiet as far as upcoming rain, but LMS will continue to watch and have each district ready if the forecasts change.

All good news throughout the county.

Flash Flood Watch / Brazos River Update – 01/02/19 @ 9:45 AM

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for much of the region until noon on Thursday, January 3. This morning’s forecast is continuing to show the majority of our region receiving between 1 to 3 inches of rainfall with the potential for isolated amounts of 4 to 5 inches. Based on this morning’s forecast, the heaviest rains continue to be to our north and east. With much of our soils still saturated, any rainfall received will quickly be converted to runoff which can potentially cause street ponding and rises in our local watersheds. Final impacts will depend on the final location and volume of rainfall received.

Based on the forecasts, the upper portions of the Brazos River Watershed is expected to receive between 2 to 3 inches with similar chances for isolated amounts between 4 to 5 inches. As of this morning, the WGRFC has forecasted the Brazos River in Hempstead peaking around Gage Elevation 52.4 feet. The current forecast for Richmond shows a similar rise; however, at this moment the forecast ends at Gage Elevation 42.7 feet with no crest shown due to the published forecast window. We will continue to monitor the conditions and provide additional updates as necessary.

River Projections – 12/28

Dear Residents,

With recent heavy rains on Wednesday in the county and North of Houston, the Brazos River has given a new projection of just under 43ft by next Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Currently, the river has spiked to 31ft and continues to rise rapidly. All flood gates will begin to seal up over the weekend and the first part of next week. At 43ft, if reached, flood gates will be gravity sealed off everywhere throughout the county and will be on pumping operations should more rain be projected. At this time, forecasts are showing light rain over the weekend and into Monday. If rain does fall once gates are sealed, be on the look out for increased water levels in channels and detention ponds until pump stations can get levels back to normal. Street ponding while raining will be expected, based on rain intensity, as things progress and flow to the channels. LMS will be out and doing normal inspections over the weekend and into the first part of the week to insure no problems persist in any district.

Brazos River Forecast Update – 12/8 @ 11 AM

Over the past 24 hours, much of our area has received between 3 to 5 inches of rainfall with some isolated amounts nearing 6 to 7 inches. Due to the rainfall, we have seen rises in many of our local creeks and streams along with an initial 5-foot jump on the Brazos River. After today, the extended forecast has overcast to clear skies through the middle of next week giving us a brief time to drain out while we wait to see what will occur on the Brazos River. The image below is a summary of the rainfall over northern Fort Bend County as of 10:47 AM from the Harris County Flood Warning System.

With the significant rainfall finished, we will focus on the Brazos River gages as water makes its way from upstream of Hempstead through Richmond. The 9:27AM forecasts show Hempstead peaking at Gage 50.4 on Monday afternoon/evening, San Felipe peaking at Gage 121 on Tuesday morning, and Richmond hitting Gage 44.4 on Thursday morning. Please note that the Richmond forecast does not show a peak; therefore, we could see higher elevations than the current forecast shows. Based on historically flooding events, when Hempstead has hit near Gage 50, we have seen Richmond hit between Gage 48 and 50 a few days later. We do not have as many records with San Felipe, but this matches what we have seen the past 3 years at the San Felipe Gage.

Based on the levels predicted, gravity drainage will be impacted for the next week or two. While the Brazos River is elevated, the extended forecast is currently showing another ½ inch or so of rainfall starting on Wednesday. Even though it appears that we could avoid any significant flooding from the Brazos River, we need to continue to watch the extended forecast for any additional rainfall that could impact our region.

Brazos River Forecast Update – 12/7 @ 9 AM

The WGRFC has issued a forecast for the majority of the gage locations in the lower Brazos River Watershed. The 7:44 AM published forecast shows the Brazos River in Richmond hitting Gage 42 feet on Wednesday, December 12 around 6 AM. As shown on the graphic, the elevation of 42 feet is at the end of the current forecast window. This means that the current forecast does not necessarily represent the final peak that could occur in Richmond. The final peak will depend on the actual amount of rainfall that will occur in the watershed. We will continue to watch the local conditions in Fort Bend County, but also the conditions upstream. Currently, the WGRFC is forecasting Hempstead to hit 52.1 and San Felipe to hit 120.6.

As of this morning, the NWS is continuing to show heavy rain hitting the Greater Houston Area starting later today. The region has the potential to receive between 2” to 5” with isolated amounts between 8” to 10”. With these totals and the short duration, we have an increased risk of street ponding with local rises in our creeks and streams occurring Friday night. This is particularly the case in areas with a history of ponding and/or poor conveyance.