Storms push Fal­con Lake in South Texas to record

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE -

The Fal­con Lake reser­voir rose to 308.3 feet Thurs­day, just above its pre­vi­ous record in 1958. Down­stream in La Grulla, Dillen Ely Sa- linas, 10, stands Thurs­day in an area that typ­i­cally is dry crop­land at the home of his great-grand­fa­ther Rene Martinez.

ZA­P­ATA — Wa­ter lev­els at a South Texas reser­voir broke a 52-year-old record Thurs­day, forc­ing evac­u­a­tions in the area.

Fal­con Lake, which strad­dles the U.S.-Mex­ico border part­way be­tween Laredo and McAllen, has been ris­ing steadily since heavy rains from Hur­ri­cane Alex and a trop­i­cal de­pres­sion swelled the Rio Grande and trib­u­taries that feed the reser­voir.

De­spite in­creas­ing re­leases down­stream, Fal­con Lake rose to 308.3 feet Thurs­day, just above its pre­vi­ous record in 1958, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice.

The Za­p­ata County sher­iff’s of­fice or­dered a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion of some low-ly­ing prop­er­ties on the lake’s shore late Wed­nes­day. La Grulla, in Starr County, was evac­u­ated Thurs­day. Down­stream, Hi­dalgo County called for the vol­un­tary evac­u­a­tion Thurs­day of about 15 homes south of Pharr.

Some South Texas roads re­main flooded and closed more than two weeks af­ter Alex made land­fall in north­ern Mex­ico on June 30 and heavy rain swelled the Rio Grande.

The Texas Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion on Thurs­day re­ported that sev­eral farm-tomar­ket roads in Wil­lacy, Hi­dalgo and Cameron coun­ties are still shut down be­cause of high wa­ter. Rio Grande flood­ing forced evac­u­a­tions this week in the com­mu­ni­ties of Pen­i­tas and Los Ebanos.

Kin Man Hui pho­tos

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