WHARTON, Texas –The city of Wharton’s mayor called for a voluntary evacuation Thursday for the west side of the city due to the rise of the Colorado River.

The city held a news conference at 8 a.m. to provide the latest updates on the city’s efforts and progress.

It is expected to crest at 45.8 feet at 5 p.m. Friday. Flood stage is 39 feet.

Resident Cainon Owens is getting his house ready for a flood. He took up the carpet and put his furniture up high.

“(When) you come back in here and it’s flooded, you got water, you got mud, all that dirty stuff,” he told KPRC 2. “Just makes it easier on me when I come back in.”

Owens, like many others in the small Wharton neighborhood, are preparing to head for higher ground. Felicia Jones is also getting her house ready before leaving to stay with in-laws.

“We’re going to move that table and set it against our window over here and set our furniture up,” she said.

A shelter is being prepared at Wharton Junior High to take in those who have nowhere else to go. Emergency Management Director Andy Kirkland says the city is trying to get people out of harm’s way early, before flood waters swamp the area.

If you need an ambulance, they can’t drive in there any more than you can drive out,” said Andy Kirkland of the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management. “So we can’t come get you if all that’s closed off.

This is the fourth time this area of Wharton has flooded since 1998. Kirkland is hoping people will heed the problems of years’ past and grab whatever they can now and leave before it’s too late.

“You really don’t want to go back there and fight the critters because you left your rocking chair over there,” he said.

The evacuation area set out by the city includes 400 homes from the river to the railroad tracks to FM 102 to Highway 59.