Storms, tornadoes lash Texas; 2 still missing

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2 dead, 2 missing in Texas floods from storms now moving across Louisiana.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Another round of storms and strong winds moved east across Texas on Saturday, with three radar-confirmed tornadoes damaging homes and causing injuries in the Houston area. At least two people are dead and another two are missing after storms thundered through parts of Texas Friday, dumping more than a foot of rain on some areas and causing flash floods that trapped school buses and other vehicles, officials said.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. Francisco Sanchez of the Harris County Office of Emergency Management said four to seven inches of rain has fallen since Friday night and more was expected.

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. Another man and woman were still unaccounted in separate incidents in the Austin area on Friday and crews were still searching the area early Saturday. A lazy creek cutting through Texas wine country swelled into a rushing torrent, sending eight members of a vacationing church group scrambling to a second floor and awaiting rescue from the National Guard. 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. More than 16in 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. The National Weather Service also issued a flash flood watch for areas near Houston, Galveston, Bryan, College Station, Tyler and Texarkana until Saturday afternoon.

The body of a driver who went missing in floodwaters was later found in a hard-hit area near the Austin airport, the Travis County Emergency Management Office said. 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. 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. The Houston Fire Department said it had responded to more than 90 water rescues by midmorning Saturday. “A lot of the feeder roads are under water and we have some bayous that are out of their banks, contributing to the flooding around the city,” Blood 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.

Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown said a tornado touched down in D’Hanis, 50 miles west of San Antonio, destroying a bank and damaging other buildings in the tiny town of about 550 residents, reported NBC affiliate WOAI. 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.

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