Beaumont area residents have been told to evacuate to higher ground immediately as water is released from a nearby reservoir.
Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette posted a grim warning on the Tyler County Emergency Management’s Facebook page telling people to “GET OUT OR DIE!”
The warning comes as the Army Corps of Engineers will open the floodgates at the nearby Steinhagen reservoir which will raise the level of the Neches River to almost 80 feet in Tyler County and runoff from Harvey could add another 2 to 3 feet.
The flow of water will be sudden and “catastrophic” according to officials as a wall of water rushes from the reservoir then heads 65 miles from the reservoir, downstream to the Port of Beaumont and southeast to the sea.
The Neches is forecast to crest in Beaumont 1 pm CDT Friday at 16.1 feet above flood stage and will stay elevated for several days to come. The crest is over 7 feet higher than the previous record set in 1994.
The gate opening was necessary to avoid a complete failure of the flood control dam as water flowing into the reservoir was coming in faster than Dam B had been releasing even after a controlled release of 50,000 CFS that began Wednesday.
The judge wrote, “‘all residents living in Mt. Neches, Barlow Lake Estates, Works Bluff on CR 4415, Sheffield Ferry and Bottom Loop-CR 4700 who have not already evacuated must do so immediately.”