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Trump retweeted an alarming warning about a levee failure. Here’s what we know.

Brian Resnick is Vox’s science and health editor, and is the co-creator of Unexplainable, Vox's podcast about unanswered questions in science. Previously, Brian was a reporter at Vox and at National Journal.

You might be concerned if you just saw president Donald Trump retweet this stark message from Brazoria County, a suburban area just Southeast of Houston that’s home to more than 300,000 people.

The notice is alarming, but light on information. Here’s what we know.

  • According to the Houston Chronicle, Brazoria County issued a mandatory evacuation Monday in fear the levee system in the county would become strained to the brink of failure. “Officials ... warned Monday that imminent, widespread flooding in the central and western part of the county would be significantly worse than had been previously seen,” the Chronicle reports. So we can assume the stark message above was intended for people who did not leave in the face of the warning. (Voluntary evacuation orders had been issued as early as Saturday.)
  • “As early as Sunday,” a local Patch outlet explains, “deputies were going door to door in the resort community issuing a flood warning ... The flyer being given to residents read ‘flooding of Columbia Lakes is imminent. Please evacuate now.’”
Brazoria County outlined in red
Google Maps
  • Breached is not the same as broken. According to a local ABC affiliate, water is coming up over the levee, and is starting to seep into the surrounding community.
  • The levee contains the Brazos River, which is now on track to reach record levels of flooding.
  • According to a local CBS affiliate, the levee is near a subdivision of homes, and water is currently seeping toward them.
  • A spokesperson for the country tells the Houston Chronicle, “We have some residents there who didn't want to leave. We have first responders there getting them out now." (There are always a few people who do not evacuate even amid the most dire of warnings.)