Dangerous flood waters are raging through central Texas during torrential storms

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dangerous flood waters are raging through central Texas during torrential storms.

AUSTIN – Heavy thunderstorms and three reported tornadoes pounded a large swath of central Texas on Friday from San Antonio to Bastrop County, causing water rescues, street flooding and damage, according to the Weather Channel and the National Weather Service.

A broad swatch of torrential rains, which swept up the Interstate 35 corridor before daybreak Friday and continued dumping rain in the Austin area at mid-morning, flooded creeks, closed roads, grounded flights and MetroRail service, and led school officials to shelter in place students who had already reported to school. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport temporarily closed its airfield Friday morning due to the torrential rains and heavy winds, the Associated Press reported. But the Wimberley area, devastated by flooding on the Blanco River during the Memorial Day weekend, was once again seeing high water after almost 9 inches fell in that area. The river was flowing over the RR 12 bridge before 9 a.m., and flooding was reported on Cypress Creek, a tributary that runs through the heart of Wimberley. A broad area of rotation and very strong straight-line winds were picked up on radar this morning, and tornado damage was later confirmed in the city of Floresville, Tex., southeast of San Antonio.

The dousing throughout the metro area — Onion Creek saw almost 14 inches of rain since midnight and is predicted to go as much as 13 inches above flood stage, authorities said, and much of Austin had between five and eight inches of rain in just a few hours — led the Lower Colorado River Authority to begin releasing water from Lake Austin into Lady Bird Lake before 11 a.m. Tornado warnings continue to be issued alongside flash flood emergencies in this incredible storm complex that is rolling slowly north through central Texas.

Along with the report of the confirmed tornado, the weather service said that extensive damage to Floresville High School could have been caused by a tornado, KENS-5 TV reported. With parts of Interstate 35 under way, authorities closed the on-ramps to the stretch of highway between San Marcos and the southern edge of Austin, a Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman said. In D’Hanis, the bricks of a bank in the area were ripped from the structure, and multiple other buildings throughout the city were ripped apart by the storm. Onion Creek in Driftwood, Tex., skyrocketed to major flood stage on Friday morning, was less than 2 feet away from its record water level of 25.1 feet, previously set in 1998. One man shot a scary video from inside is car which was being swept away by flood water. “So you can see I’m floating down some sort of creek in the middle of this weather,” he says. “I called 911 and they told me to stay in the car and hopefully they’ll be here soon.

The creek was rapidly rising Friday morning, raising the specter of a repeat of flash floods there two years ago this week that killed at least four people – including a woman and her 8-month-old son who were swept away in their car – damaged more than 1,200 homes and displaced hundreds of residents. Because of the timing of the rains, many students had reported to area schools before the severity of the flooding, and the possibility of damage from tornadoes or straight-line winds, became clear. And Superintendent Paul Cruz through Twitter said that all after school activities, other than athletic games such as Friday night football, have been cancelled. Gregg Waller, a hydrologist with the weather service’s West Gulf River Forecast Center in Fort Worth, said the region’s damp soil, topography and weather conditions made it prime for potential flooding. Schools is canceled for the San Marcos school district, where an early morning report of tornado damage at San Marcos High School turned out to the incorrect.

The Austin-Travis County Emergency Management Service reported on its Twitter feed that it had conducted four water rescues and were assisting with flooded homes and pedestrians. And the transit agency said many bus routes were being rerouted because of street flooding, meaning in particular the No. 30 and No. 333 routes in the vicinity of Onion Creek.

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