The Latest on Texas Storms: Body Found; Death Toll at 3

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

HOUSTON — 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. A Travis County emergency services spokeswoman said the body of a man who was driving a vehicle that was swept away near Elroy on Friday was recovered on Saturday morning.

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.

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 storms and suspected tornadoes have socked an already-sodden swath of Texas that was still drying out from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia, forcing evacuations of flood-prone areas and slowing or shutting down traffic on long stretches of Interstate 35.

As the storms moved east, National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Blood said a tornado went through Brazoria County near Alvin about 5 am Saturday, injuring at least two people and damaging about 25 mobile homes in the community 30 miles south of Houston. 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. That’s resulted in flooded streets, which led officials to suspend public light-rail and bus transportation in the morning; limited rail service was restored around 11 a.m. “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.

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. 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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