Search for 2 missing from Central Texas floods to continue

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

At least 2 dead after Texas pummeled again by heavy storms.

Another round of thunderstorms was moving across Central and Southeast Texas on Saturday as crews search the Austin area for two people missing from flash floods. BUDA, Texas — Punishing storms and suspected tornadoes Friday socked an already sodden swath of Texas that was still drying out from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia, forcing evacuations and shutting down a gridlocked 10-mile stretch of interstate.AUSTIN, Texas — At least two people were killed when a storm with high winds and heavy rains pelted central Texas on Friday, flooding highways, causing evacuations after rivers overflowed and spawning tornadoes that ripped through buildings outside San Antonio. The body of one man swept away by raging waters when his vehicle was caught southeast of Austin has been recovered, a Travis County emergency official said, adding one elderly woman was still missing.

Another body was found at Joint Base San Antonio Camp Bullis in Bexar County after a driver was swept away in flood waters on Camp Bullis Road at around 6:15 a.m., base spokesman Oscar Balladares said. More than 16 inches of rain soaked one neighborhood and Austin Bergstrom International Airport suspended all flights after a half-foot of water flooded the air-traffic control tower. A lazy creek cutting through Texas wine country swelled into a rushing torrent, sending eight members of a vacationingchurch group scrambling to a second floor and awaiting rescue by the National Guard.

Two people are missing in the Austin area: an elderly woman last seen at her home and a 37-year-old man last seen in his car on the state highway, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Department. Abandoned cars, many submerged in water, littered backroads that weary drivers risked after heavy downpours flooded Interstate 35 between San Antonio and Austin, closing one of the busiest stretch of roadways in the US. In the San Antonio area, four special needs students and two adults were rescued from a bus that became trapped in floodwaters just after 7 a.m., the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Austin Fire Department responded to about 500 calls for help while some residents in the nearby city of San Marcos were told to boil water for safety. A fugitive accused of shooting a Tennessee police officer and firing at a Kentucky trooper was killed in a shootout with authorities early Friday, ending a nearly weeklong manhunt. Similar conditions in May — soaking storms on the heels of other soaking storms — caused devastating flooding on the Blanco River that swept homes from foundations and killed families that were carried downstream.

Hays County issued evacuation orders and set up shelters for hundreds along the Blanco and San Marcos rivers, two waterways hard hit by the May floods. Floyd Ray Cook, 62, was pronounced dead at the scene in south-central Kentucky after being confronted by state troopers and a federal marshal who were searching an embankment, Kentucky State Police public affairs officer Billy Gregory said. In Floresville, about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, a high school wall was ripped apart by high winds that also tossed a recreational vehicle trailer onto the roof of a hotel, TV video from the area showed.

The ground floor of the Austin Air Traffic Control Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control facility was flooded by approximately 6 inches of water during the storm, airport officials said. The river later subsided. “We didn’t know where we were going, it was dark — the water was rising so fast,” Kathleen Haney, who was trapped at a bed and breakfast near Wimberley, said. Ruth Veliz, whose parents own a taco shop in town, said one of her employees yelled ‘Tornado!’ and tried to keep the winds from blowing inside before a customer pulled her to safety. A possible tornado was reported in Hays County on Friday afternoon, and authorities in other towns said they had spotted twisters and the damaging effects of high winds. The flooded portion of Interstate 35 was reopened later Friday, but not before southbound drivers turned against traffic and tried driving north along the shoulder.

Winds peeled off roofs elsewhere and collapsed a historic 19th-century building in the small town of D’Hanis, one of three cities where suspected tornadoes touched down. A teacher and five students were hurt, two of them seriously, when a fire broke out in a chemistry classroom at a northern Virginia high school Friday, fire officials said. Two of the injured students were flown to hospital burn centers, where they were being treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries, Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers said. The only statewide ballot question in Colorado next week seems like a no-brainer: Should the state keep $66 million in marijuana taxes it has already collected to spend on schools and drug-abuse prevention? It rearranges the spending plan to give money to some new recipients, including the 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America – youth groups that never sought the handout and aren’t keen on being associated with pot.

Lawmakers insist the marijuana money will be spent as voters generally intended when they approved a 10 percent sales tax and 15 percent excise tax on recreational pot in 2013.

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