Mon, Jul 02, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Authorities monitor rain-swollen rivers after week of floods

AP , WEATHERFORD, TEXAS

Returning residents who had evacuated their home this week kept watch overnight on the Brazos River, which officials expected to swell again yesterday after opening another flood gate at a nearby lake.

The river was expected to crest around 8m, 30cm above flood stage, after Brazos River Authority officials opened a fourth flood gate at Possum Kingdom Lake in north Texas on Saturday afternoon.

The river peaked above 8.2m on Thursday, prompting Parker County to order a mandatory evacuation of 2,000 people.

Authorities encouraged residents to seek higher ground as the lake runoff moved downstream.

"The next crest doesn't appear that it's going to be as bad as the first one," Parker County spokesman Joel Kertok said. "We just need to keep an eye on it."

Storms have claimed 11 lives in Texas in the last two weeks. Forecasters expected rain to continue dumping on already sopped parts of North Texas up through the central state of Missouri as part of a lingering storm system.

On Saturday, there were reports of tornadoes touching down in southwest Missouri. No injuries were reported and officials were awaiting damage reports.

The rain-swollen rivers in western Missouri were expected to continue to rise this week, emergency officials said.

In southeastern Kansas, three days of rain led to voluntary evacuations. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius declared a state of disaster emergency in 12 counties.

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