Body recovered, rescue efforts underway as historic floods rush through Hill Country

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At least one body has been recovered and authorities are carrying out rescue efforts following near record-breaking floods Tuesday morning throughout the Hill Country.

Deputies with the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office removed the body from the floodwaters of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson at about 1 p.m. near Kingsland, according to Spectrum News in Austin.

Texas Game Warden Search and Rescue teams are now involved in multiple air and water rescues along the river as calls for service come in “one after the other,” according to a Tweet from the department.

Christy Baught, a floodplain administrator for Llano County, said other local agencies are also assisting with rescue operations, as the flooding has placed residents in serious danger.

“The Llano River has hit major historic flood stage,” reads a post from the Llano County Office of Emergency Management. “It is currently at 40′ and has almost topped the bridge in Llano. Anyone living within 1/4 mile of the river should evacuate immediately to higher ground.”

RELATED: Missing driver recovered from Sabinal River identified

The Llano River crested around noon at 39.9 feet, just short of the 1935 record of 41.5 feet.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas State Operations Center to a state of increased readiness in response to the ongoing flooding.

“When severe weather strikes, Texas will ensure our responders and local officials have what they need to respond and protect those in harm’s way,” he said. “I also urge all Texans to take their safety into their own hands by closely monitor changing weather conditions and heeding warnings from local officials.”

The flooding has shut down several roadways and bridges in the area, and at about 9:30 a.m., the FM 2900 bridge in Kingsland, Texas, collapsed from the pressure of the raging floodwaters, according to a report from KEYE-TV in Austin.

The National Weather Service reported Tuesday morning that more than 10 inches of rain has inundated portions of the Llano River watershed since early Monday. The water has rushed into the river, causing it to rise to almost unprecedented levels.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Gillespie and Llano counties through 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and a flood warning along the Llano River in Llano County, Sandy Creek near Kingsland and the Pedernales River at Johnson City.

The Llano River is in a major flood stage, meaning there will be “extensive inundation of structures and roads.” Such a stage calls for “significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations,” according to NWS’s website.

Baught said the Llano County Office of Emergency management has set up shelters at the First Baptist Church of Llano, Inman’s Kitchen an the Kingsland Community Center. She did not know if anyone was missing in the storm.

Flooding has also affected other rivers in the Hill County. The National Weather Service said Guadalupe River, Sandy Creek and Nueces River are facing a “dangerous situation.”

RELATED: Rain suspends search for person still missing in Texas flood

According to the Austin American-Statesman, homes near Robinson City Park, Scotts Acres, Castell, the FM 2900 Bridge in Kingsland, Kingsland Lodge and Marble Falls are expected to face severe flooding.

The following school districts have cancelled or delayed classes today:

  • Llano ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Rocksprings ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Burnet CISD has cancelled all classes
  • Fredericksburg ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Hunt ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Ingram ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Leakey ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Junction ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Medina ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Marble Falls ISD has cancelled all classes
  • Harper ISD has cancelled all classes

The Hill Country and other portions of South Central Texas have been hammered by heavy rain and flooding this month. Last week, four people were swept away as flood waters rushed through Junction, Texas, after storms dumped almost a foot of rain into the South Llano River. Three victims have been found and authorities on Monday temporarily called off the search for the fourth until the rain passed.

Patrick Ojeda was swept away on Friday as he tried to drive across a bridge over the Sabinal River in Uvalde County. He was found a mile downstream.

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Caleb Downs is a crime reporter for Read more of his stories here.| | Twitter: @calebjdowns