Third Texas prison unit evacuated because of Brazos River flooding

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(KWTX) A third Texas prison near the Brazos River in southeast Texas is being evacuated because of flooding.

An aerial view of the Brazos River in Fort Bend County. (CNN VAN photo)

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Friday began moving about 1,700 inmates from the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, about 30 miles south of Houston.

They're being placed on buses for transfer to other prisons in East Texas that have room.

Some 2,600 inmates at two nearby prisons in Brazoria County, the Terrell and Stringfellow Units, were moved out Sunday.

Agency spokesman Jason Clark says additional food and water has been delivered to the prisons receiving the displaced inmates.

The Brazos River reached a record high Friday morning near Glen Rose and the runoff from heavy rain is pushing lake levels to near record highs.

At 9 a.m. Friday the river near Glen Rose was at 34.29 feet.

Flood stage is 29 feet.

Major flooding was occurring and major flooding is predicted.

The National Weather Service said the river should recede through the weekend and fall below flood stage by Monday afternoon.

The level of Lake Whitney is rising by about 2 inches an hour.

The Corps of Engineers is retaining the water in hopes of limiting damage downstream, but at some point may have to release water as lake levels continue to rise.

Nearly the entire eastern half of Texas is under a flash flood watch or warning as the effects of days of heavy rains linger in creeks and rivers.

Storms off the southeast Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico are threatening to worsen flooding in places like Brazoria and Fort Bend counties, southwest of Houston, where residents near the Brazos River have been forced from their homes.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to tour the area Friday afternoon.

The river at Richmond in Fort Bend County, where flood stage is 48 feet, was 54.35 feet Friday morning, down slightly from Thursday.

Fort Bend officials say 20 percent of the county's land area has been affected by flooding.

Farther south in Brazoria County at Rosharon, the last flood gauge before the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico was at 52.42 feet Friday morning, a half-foot higher than 24 hours earlier. Flood stage is 43 feet.