Parts of Shelby County underwater; Sabine River closed to boat traffic

Parts of Shelby County underwater; Sabine River closed to boat traffic
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Monday,Governor Abbott declared a State of Emergency.  The disaster declaration includes several Deep East Texas counties including Angelina, Tyler, Sabine and Jasper counties. Shelby County is now working to get on the list as well. Sabine River Authority closed the river near Joaquin for the first time.

"It was like they said it was. It was worse actually," said Kreig Rogers, a resident who did not evacuate.

"We had no earthly idea how bad it would get," said Brenda Barber, a resident who did not evacuate.

Some residents of the Sand Isle Subdivision in Shelby County watch the swift current from their lakefront homes.

"I've never seen it like that before. The current was awesome and scary," Barber said.

"I believe it's gone down 26 inches here," said Judge Allison Harbison, Shelby County.

It's been four days after a mandatory evacuation, and street signs, mail boxes, and cars float just above over 20 inches of flood water.

"There was seven or eight inches inside the house," Rogers said.

"It scared me to death to see a boat come down it, because I know how dangerous it can be," Barber said.

Residents said it seems the flooding happened overnight. County roads are now covered. For the first time, the body of water is closed to boat traffic.

"These houses that have water in them, when people speed by, it washes the water back on their porches and in their houses," Harbison said.

After a 2008 flood taught them that looters lurk during evacuations, Rogers and others stayed to protect their belongings. He's relieved to find game wardens are keeping boats out of the water.

"It's a first for me. I know they did it in Shreveport, but I've never heard it here. That gives me a piece of mind," Rogers said.

From the Toledo Bend Project to the Texas/Louisiana state line, boats are prohibited while water slowly recedes at its own pace. The county judge urges people to prepare for the aftermath and damages.

"They need to take pictures while the water is in their house and as it goes out," Harbison said.

Joaquin residents who barely missed devastation play the waiting game. Others reconsider life on the river.

"I'm starting to think fishing is overrated," Rogers chuckled.

The executive order to stay out of the water from the Toledo Bend Project to the Texas-Louisiana state line is in effect until rescinded by Sabine River Authority of Texas.

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