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   You are at NWS Houston/Galveston » Research Projects » Tropical Storm Frances (1998) » Impact on Rivers

Tropical Storm Frances
Impact on Rivers

River and Bayou Flooding...
September was an active month across the HSA with Tropical Storm Frances dumping 4 to 6 inches of rain over the region. Large areas received 8 to 10 inches of rain with some areas receiving more than 12 inches. The result was significant flooding in many areas. Flooding was exacerbated in many areas by tides 4 to 6 feet above normal. Significant rises occurred on the San Bernard River in Brazoria County from above Sweeny to the mouth on September 9th with flood stage exceeded on September 10th. This rise was mainly due to strong tidal influence. Significant rains began on September 10th and continued through the 12th. The majority of the rain occurred during the morning hours of September 11th as Frances made landfall.

By daybreak September 11th significant flooding was occurring in Harris County and the City of Houston. Homes in Jersey Village and Woodland Trails in northwest Houston along White Oak Bayou were flooding by 6:00 am. Most subdivisions along White Oak Bayou experienced house flooding. Homes were also flooded on Halls Bayou above I-45, on Brays Bayou at Lawndale near the confluence with the Houston Ship Channel, and on Armand Bayou near Spencer Highway in Pasadena. I-10 between the West Loop and downtown Houston and I-45 near North Main Street were closed by 9:00 am due to flooding from Buffalo and White Oak Bayous. State Highway 288 was closed due to flooding from Brays Bayou. In all more than 1400 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in this event.

In Brazoria County Chocolate Bayou near Alvin exceeded its banks in the channel above FM 1462 to the mouth at Chocolate Bay. Several minor roads were impacted by this flooding.

Significant flooding occurred on the San Bernard River above U.S. Highway 59 near Kendalton to the mouth. Primary flooding above FM 442 near Boling was due to backwater on the tributaries of Peach and West Bernard Creeks in Wharton County. While no homes were reported flooded several roads in the El Lobo subdivision were inundated. A combination of strong tidal influence and heavy rain produced the rise in the channel above Sweeny to the mouth. While low lying areas along the river were flooded the most significant impact was on barge traffic at the Phillips Petroleum Facility.

The Tres Palacios River in Matagorda County began rising at the rate of one foot an hour during the evening hours of September 10th resulting in moderate lowland flooding above State Highway 71 near Midfield to the mouth at Tres Palacios Bay. Significant backwater up Juanita Creek, about one mile upstream from the gaging station at FM 456, was also noted. Several farm to market and county roads in Matagorda County were inundated by this flood. There were no reports of homes flooded. However, several areas were isolated due to the flooded roadways.

Flooding on East Mustang Creek near Louise in Wharton County closed FM 647 for several hours on September 12th. Secondary and minor roads near the creek were also inundated.

Several small, ungaged watersheds in Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria, Matagorda, Fort Bend, and Wharton Counties flooded. This resulted in the closing of many farm to market and county roads with several homes and subdivisions threatened. These included Dickinson Bayou in Galveston County, Oyster Creek in Brazoria County and Caney Creek in Matagorda County.

Water had receded on all but the San Bernard and Tres Palacios Rivers by the afternoon of September 12th. There were no deaths or serious injuries due to river flooding associated with this event. Galveston, Harris, Brazoria, and Matagorda Counties were declared disaster areas.

Cypress Creek
near Westfield
21.0 9/11/98 9/18/98 21.50 9/11/98
Cypress Creek
near Westfield
28.0 9/11/98 9/12/98 33.53 9/11/98
White Oak Bayou
at Heights Blvd
41.0 9/11/98 9/11/98 47.06 9/11/98
Buffalo Bayou
at Shepherd Drive
23.0 9/11/98 9/12/98 36.46 9/11/98
Clear Creek at FM 528 12.0 9/11/98 9/12/98 13.68 9/11/98
Chocolate Bayou
near Alvin
24.0 9/11/98 9/13/98 29.99 9/12/98
San Bernard River
near Boling
18.0 9/11/98 9/22/98 26.31
near Sweeny 16.0 9/10/98 9/20/98 23.60 9/11/98
Tres Palacios River
near Midfield
24.0 9/10/98
East Mustang Creek
near Louise
19.0 9/10/98 9/12/98 21.95 9/11/98
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