Two people in Washington County, Texas, are dead after a record setting 18-inch rainfall created massive flooding. A third person has been reported missing and police are currently searching for that person.
In less than twenty-four hours, eighteen inches of rain dumped on the Brazos River area northwest of Houston. The massive rainfall created torrential rivers out of roadways and ditches and the banks of the Brazos River quickly overflowed, KWHI radio’s Ed Pothul in Brenham, Texas, reported.
One of the people killed was living in a trailer home in a rural part of the country. The mobile home was washed away by rapidly moving flood waters near the town of Chappell Hill. The second person was swept away in their car in a flash flood.
Officials in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the two deaths to Breitbart Texas Friday afternoon. The dispatcher also confirmed officials are currently searching for a third person who is missing.
Washington County Sheriff Otto Hanak told Breitbart Texas in an interview on Friday afternoon he has never seen anything like this. “In all of my life I have never seen a harder, more continuous rainfall,” Hanak said. “We received between 18 and 22 inches of rain in a very concentrated area.”
The Washington County sheriff said New Year’s Creek Lane was the culprit in all of the damage. “A wall of water rushed down what is normally a tiny creek,” Hanak explained. “Entire trailers were ripped away and washed downstream.”
One man who is still reported to be missing was on a bridge over that creek on Highway 105 east of Brenham when about a 20-30 foot wall of water washed the full-sized pickup truck off the roadway, the sheriff said. The man has been identified by family members as 21-year-old Darren Mitchell, The Eagle reported.
The sheriff told Breitbart Texas the response from surrounding emergency agencies has been amazing. “You simply can’t plan for an event of this magnitude,” he said. “We depend on other agencies for support and they came out in force to help us last night.”
Hanak said many members of his staff had homes that were damaged or destroyed, just like hundreds of other homeowners and business owners in the county.
Washington County Judge John Brieden told Pothul “This is something most people don’t normally deal with. They don’t understand the power of water.”
“We were the hardest hit county in the area. It seemed to just zero in here,” the county judge explained. “We had all of Task Force 1’s resources here in Washington County last night.”
In Texas, the county judge serves as the CEO of the county government.
He said that at the peak, there were nine boats actively engaged in rescues in the county known more for being the birthplace of Texas and home to Blue Bell Ice Cream.
The person still missing was driving a pickup truck that was later found about 7 miles north of Brenham, The Eagle reported. The Bryan-College Station newspaper reported officials are still searching for the driver, 21-year-old Darren Mitchell.
Rescue workers recovered the body of the driver of another vehicle that was washed away in the torrential flooding. Emergency crews told The Eagle it appears he died from a heart attack.
County officials urge people to stay home and said that fifty of the county’s roadways are closed because of impassible water over the road.
Flooding in the area began shortly before the end of Thursday’s work day. Many drivers were unable to make it home and had to seek shelter in lodging or emergency facilities. A local shelter housed about 20 people.
“We want people to be safe and use their heads and not put our rescuers in danger,” County Judge Brieden said. “That cannot be emphasized enough.”