Storms push Falcon Lake in South Texas to record
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.