Storms, tornadoes lash Texas; death toll rises to 6

1 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

6 dead after more storms lash Texas.

HOUSTON – The death toll rose to six in Texas as more bodies were recovered on Saturday after another band of strong storms and heavy rain spawned three tornadoes and dangerous flooding in the waterlogged state.

The storms and suspected tornadoes, which forecasters say were caused by an upper-level disturbance from Mexico, socked an already-sodden swath of Texas that was still drying out from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia. The Houston Fire Department said it had responded to more than 130 water rescues on Saturday, and some public light-rail and bus transportation was suspended. Houston officials also said they had received 44 reports of structural flooding, including homes and businesses, and the city’s fire department helped remove residents from flooded homes near a bayou in the northeastern part of the city. Houston police discovered two bodies that are believed to be weather-related deaths, one in a flooded ditch and another in a wooded area where there had been high water, according to city spokesman Michael Walter.

As the storms moved east Saturday, National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Blood said a tornado went through Brazoria County near Alvin at about 5 a.m., damaging about 25 mobile homes in the community that’s 30 miles south of Houston. Homeowner David McCullough, 70, said he and his wife were at their ranch when the storm hit and got the call from a neighbor. “I feel like it’s a blessing that we weren’t here,” he said as friends and family members helped them try to salvage personal items, pictures and documents from their home of 32 years. “It’s just stuff and it can be replaced.

The third death was confirmed Saturday morning, when officials found the body of a man whose vehicle was swept away Friday southeast of Austin, Travis County Emergency Services spokeswoman Lisa Block. More than 16 inches of rain soaked one neighborhood on Friday, and Austin Bergstrom International Airport suspended all flights after a half-foot of water flooded the air traffic control tower; 40 flights were canceled there on Saturday. Meanwhile, a lazy creek cutting through Texas wine country, a popular getaway spot, swelled into a rushing torrent, sending eight members of a vacationing church group scrambling to a second floor before they were rescued by the National Guard. Similar conditions in May caused devastating flooding on the Blanco River that swept homes from foundations and killed families who were carried downstream.

Hundreds of high-water crossings were closed Saturday in Hays County, and some residents in southeast Travis County, near Austin, were asked to move to higher ground because of residual flooding.

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