Level of surging Llano River drops, second body found

The Llano River overran the bridge Tuesday morning. (CNN VAN photo)
The Llano River overran the bridge Tuesday morning. (CNN VAN photo)(KWTX)
Published: Oct. 16, 2018 at 6:37 AM CDT
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A second body has been found along a Texas river that soared above flood stage this week, destroying a bridge, forcing evacuations and leading to multiple water rescues.

The Llano River was just below 15 feet on Wednesday morning after cresting 24 hours earlier at almost 40 feet.

Initially, forecasters expected the river to rise to near-record levels Thursday, but modified their forecast to show the river dropping below flood stage instead.

Emergency managers in Llano County, about 65 miles northwest of Austin, welcome the forecast but say it's not yet safe for residents to return home.

In Kingsland, video captured a bridge crumbling as it was overrun by floodwaters, while a body was found in nearby Lake Lyndon B. Johnson.

A woman's body was found Tuesday night in Llano at a low-water crossing on the river.

Llano County Judge Mary Cunningham says the woman's family has been notified but her that name isn't yet being released.

Earlier Tuesday, another body was found in Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, about 30 miles southeast of Llano.

Burnet County Sheriff's Capt. Tom Dillard says the body was found shortly before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday near the eastern shore of the lake.

The body hasn't been positively identified, but authorities think it may be that of a woman who was swept away along with three men in a flash flood last week in an RV park along the South Llano River, about 90 miles upstream.

The bodies of the three men were recovered earlier and have since been identified and returned to families, authorities said Wednesday.

Lake LBJ is situated where the Llano and Colorado rivers meet.

The National Weather Service says both rivers are experiencing "major flooding" following several days of rain.

Many homes and other buildings along the rivers and lake are flooded, as are roads and bridges.

Dillard says there haven't been other reports of deaths or injuries in the county.

Earlier Tuesday the swollen Llano River overran the FM 2900 bridge in Kingsland, about 65 miles northwest of Austin.

The National Weather Service says the river at nearby Llano was expected to crest Tuesday morning at near-record levels near 41 feet, which is 18 feet above major flood stage.

A flash flood warning is in effect, and forecasters describe it as a "very dangerous situation."

It's not expected to drop below major flood stage until Wednesday.

Four people were washed away last week when the South Llano River, which becomes the Llano River downstream, overran an RV park in Junction.

Three bodies have been recovered.

The National Weather Service says "major flooding" is occurring not only along the Llano River, but also the nearby Colorado River and evacuations are underway in the cities of Kingsland and Marble Falls, both northwest of Austin.

In addition to the evacuations, several school districts closed for the day and emergency personnel blocked access to more than 150 low-water crossings.

Fire officials in Austin have temporarily banned all boating along the city's waterways as heavy rain and flooding create dangerous conditions.

Authorities said in a statement Tuesday that the ban will last until Thursday, which is when rainfall in the region is forecast to finally subside.

They say navigating the waters is unsafe because of high water levels and the amount of debris that's being carried by the fast-moving water.

The ban includes Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, a portion of the Colorado River and all creeks.

Attempting to drive a vehicle through a barricaded low-water crossing also is forbidden.

AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX)--Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration late Tuesday afternoon for 18 counties affected by severe weather and flooding.

"Texas is taking immediate action to respond to the threat of recent severe weather and flooding across the state," he said.

"We have made available all necessary resources to respond as quickly and effectively as possible to this disaster, and to assist those in harm's way.

The declaration includes Bastrop, Burnet, Colorado, Fayette, Hood, Jim Wells, Kerr, Kimble, La Salle, Live Oak, Llano, Mason, McMullen, Nueces, Real, San Patricio, Travis, and Williamson counties.