The Latest: Officials say Texas drivers heeded flood dangers

25 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Remnants of Hurricane Patricia Causing Flooding in Texas.

Steady showers that soaked southeast Texas with more than a foot of rain finally eased Sunday as flood warnings expired and remnants of Hurricane Patricia dissipated, forecasters said.Up to a foot-and-a-half of rain pounded Texas on Saturday, raising fears of widespread flooding in the rain-soaked state even as the remnants of record-setting Hurricane Patricia bore down from Mexico. More than 3.2 inches of rain had fallen in Baton Rouge as of Sunday morning, while nearly 4 inches had fallen on New Orleans, according to the National Weather Service. The Houston area saw heavy rain for much of the afternoon Saturday and early Sunday morning, causing various high-water locations and impassable roads all over the greater Houston area.

Meanwhile, the storm system that had been dumping rain on parts of Texas since Friday caused flooding that blocked several major roadways and caused the derailment of a train. A Union Pacific freight train derailed before dawn Saturday near Corsicana, about 50 miles south of Dallas, because a creek overflowed and washed away the tracks, said Jeff DeGraff, a railroad spokesman. A homeless man was reported swept into a drainage ditch by flood waters in San Antonio sometime early Saturday morning while trying to rescue a dog, according to KENS-TV. One of the hardest-hit areas has been the town of Corsicana, about 90 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Dallas, where more than 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rain has fallen since Thursday.

Also, there were no reports of injuries from Mexico’s Jalisco state where Hurricane Patricia came ashore as the strongest storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. She added that residents of the city should be “prepared to be patient.” The potential for a repeat of flooding and devastating property damage in Texas loomed five months after torrential spring storms caused more than 30 deaths and left large swaths of the state underwater. Authorities had relocated coastal residents, evacuated tourists and closed seaports and airports in preparation for the storm that at one point had maximum winds of up to 325 kilometers per hour.

The man had taken refuge in a tree from the rising waters. “He seemed fine,” District Chief David Swanson said after the rescue. “He was a homeless newcomer to Houston who picked the wrong night and the wrong place to fall asleep under a bridge.” The storm triggered flash flood warnings and tornado watches, a voluntary evacuation call for the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston and the closure of underwater roads in Houston. Patricia, the most powerful hurricane ever measured, was downgraded to a tropical depression after making landfall in Mexico on Friday, but officials remained concerned that the storm could still cause significant damage from rain. More than half of the state’s 254 counties had outdoor burn bans in effect Friday, due to previously dry conditions, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported.

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