Floodwaters take their time leaving
Photo: Water from the flooded Cow Bayou Wednesday afternoon remains several feet high around Peggy’s On The Bayou restaurant on East Roundbunch Road. (Photo by Dave Rogers)
Dave Rogers / For The Record
Orange County’s flooded rivers and bayous may have crested but they are still days away from returning within their banks.
The Cow Bayou at Mauriceville had topped the old record of 22.5 feet last weekend, but was down to 17.83 feet Wednesday night, according to the gauges of the U.S. Geological Society.
Farther south, where Cow Bayou crosses East Roundbunch Road near Peggy’s On The Bayou restaurant, the USGS has no web-accessed monitors.
But a week after Tropical Storm Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Orange County, there was still a bit of water crossing Highway 73, near Chemical Row, FM 1006, and the Rainbow Bridge remained closed because of high water on the south end, in front of the TOTAL plant.
Travel across the Neches River between Port Arthur and Bridge City remained one lane each way on the Veterans Memorial Bridge Wednesday night.
Cars heading into Orange County were stacked up back into Groves at supper time, bottlenecking where Texas 73 merges with Port Arthur’s Gulfway Drive, Texas 87.
State troopers have spent the week waving cars through a couple of four-way stop signs all week.
The Toledo Bend reservoir spillway continues to release some water (12,030 cubic feet per second) and the Sabine River is high above flood stage below the dam. But, locally, the Sabine in Orange was at 6.8 feet Wednesday night and expected below flood stage of 4 feet by Saturday.
The National Weather Service says none of the three hurricanes now being tracked are expected to impact our region.
Category 5 Hurricane Irma is north of Puerto Rico, moving west northwest towards Florida. It will be a threat to Florida later this weekend into early next week.
Irma is forecast to have a significant turn to the north as it nears Florida, thanks to an upper level trough of low pressure in the east central United States.
Katia is now a hurricane in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. The cold front that moved through our region will keep this system from heading our way. It will dissipate this weekend when it makes landfall in Mexico, NWS said.
Jose is also a hurricane, and is forecast to become a major hurricane as it moves northwest across the Atlantic Ocean through early next week.
At Toledo Bend, reservoir level was at 172.11 feet Wednesday night and five floodgates were open one foot each, per government regulations.
The spillways will run until the water level reaches 172.00 feet.
The Sabine River was 29.22 feet at Deweyville, where it’s considered a major flood until its 28 feet or lower and flood stage is 24 feet.
The Sabine River in Orange was at 6.8 feet. The major flood level is 6 feet and flood stage is 4 feet. The NWS forecast is for the river to be back in its banks Saturday.