Rising Waters 2015: Heading Back Home

UPDATE at 6:45 p.m.:

Tanglewood & Eastside residents are good to go back home. Wrangler's Retreat & Horseshoe Bend should be ready for residents to go home within the hour.

After days of being evacuated, officials said residents should be able to go back to their homes on Friday.

“The storms that the National Weather Service predicted were coming through Wichita Falls actually stayed well West and North of us,” Wichita Falls Mayor Glenn Barham said.

The last few days have been stressful and busy for Wichita County and Wichita Falls officials at the Emergency Operations Center.  However, on Friday morning they got good news from the NWS.

“We dodged a bullet quite frankly,” he said.

New models from the NWS showed the Wichita River will not get to historic flood levels.  Barham said they are forecasting it to stay under 22 feet. 

“The river should begin to fall below probably 20 feet sometime Monday and then again below 18 feet sometime on Tuesday, which will put us below flood stage,” Mayor Barham said.

On Friday morning, officials announced they planned on letting residents return to their homes and the power would be restored to those affected areas.  Fire officials immediately went out to the areas to check on the situation. 

“Our intent all along is to maintain and take care of the safety of our community and we feel that's what we've done and frankly, I would rather be safe than sorry,” Mayor Barham said.

Fire officials checked the water levels at many locations and they wanted to see how close the water levels were to the homes.  They also checked how the roadways were to which areas accessible.

“There will be areas that are inaccessible to vehicles because of high waters in the streets, but we are going to allow folks to go into their homes,” he said, “They just won't be able to drive there.”

Officials at the EOC will continue getting updates from the NWS, just in case the weather pattern changes again.  If it does they will change their course of action, but for now the historic flood threat is over.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6