The National Weather Service in Fort Worth is reporting that the Trinity River in eastern Ellis County has reached minor flood stage as of mid-morning Thursday.

The river reached a height of nearly 33 feet overnight, two feet higher than the base flood stage level.

NWS meteorologists originally forecast the river reaching a height of 36 feet overnight, constituting a moderate flood stage. However, the water rose less quickly than anticipated, and as such, a new forecast was being formulated as of press time.

The weather service’s original forecast predicted the river would crest at about 39 feet, 1 foot higher than major flood stage and 1.3 feet higher than the flood that breached the levee in 1990.

The NWS’ gauge for the river is located at Rosser, about six miles due east of Bristol.

Residents in Bristol, Telico and the surrounding areas are watching the water level closely, Pct. 2 Commissioner Bill Dodson said.

“We’re in a watch and see mode,” Dodson said, adding that when the river gets to about 35 or 36 feet, a number of people will start evacuating.

Farmers in the area will probably start moving their livestock and equipment out if the river continues to rise, the commissioner said, adding that it usually takes 72 hours for the high water in Dallas to work its way down to the area.

“Based on the historical information that we have and the calculations that (NWS) can make from the conditions upstream, we are encouraging voluntary evacuation,” County Judge Chad Adams said in a press release issued last night.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Office is working with area volunteer fire departments to notify residents in the affected areas. The American Red Cross Disaster Management Team has arranged for a shelter to be opened at First United Methodist Church at 300 N. Sherman in Ennis. The church has a shelter-trained team in place as well.

Residents are also encouraged to monitor weather reports. In an emergency, call 911.

For other assistance, call the sheriff’s dispatcher at (972) 937-6060 or the local police or fire department.

Road Closures

Presently, several roads around the county are closed due to high water, damage or potential flash-flooding.

In Precinct 1, Neck Road is closed due to damage to a bridge approach.

In Precinct 2, Armstrong, Spitz, Walker Creek and Oil Field roads are all closed.

In Precinct 3, Cosby, Hamrock, Lowell, Dovie, Whiterock, Schields, Barton, Singleton, Smith, Ozrom, Weakley Branch, Bee Creek, Old Maypearl, Madison Wilson, Lo Water, Brigman, Wiggins and Bell Branch are closed due to high water and/or the threat of flash flooding.

In Precinct 4, Ray White Road off of V.V. Jones Road is closed due to high water.

E-mail Anthony at anthony.trojan@waxahachiedailylight.com