Voluntary evacuations became mandatory Monday in Fort Bend County areas near the Brazos River as heavy rain continued to compound problems.
The Fort Bend County sheriff warned that the Brazos River crest could reach a level only expected every 800 years. It could be five feet higher than previous high levels.
"Once the Brazos crests, this is going to be a whole new ballgame," said Sugar Land resident Michael Clark.
The latest news from around North Texas.
He and his fiancé have been renovating a home they just purchased in the River Bend subdivision along Oyster Creek, a Brazos River tributary.
"I think it will be five feet up into the house," Clark said. "We've got everything up off the bottom floor. It's all in the upstairs and we're fixing to take off."
Nearby, resident Sam Dolan was making sand bags out of his daughter's sand box. He shared them with neighbors as they all prepared to leave.
"There was no instruction on where to go, and all the roads are practically under water," he said. "We're an island here in Sugar Land."
Residents who lived in the neighborhood since the houses were built in the 1990s said they had never been ordered to leave before.
But they joined new arrivals in taking the order seriously.
"I've lived here my entire life in the Houston area," said resident Julie Voilek. "We've been through floods, but it's never flooded like that out here. So this is all new."
The Brazos is expected to rise through Tuesday and crest at 59 feet on Wednesday.