Mon, Jun 01, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Texas rain continues, but flooding incidents avoided


A man takes a photograph of floodwaters from the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday.

Photo: AP

The seemingly ceaseless rain swept across areas of soggy Texas again, although new serious flooding appeared to be avoided.

At least 31 people have been killed in storms that began in Texas and Oklahoma last weekend. Twenty-seven of the deaths have been in Texas alone, and 11 people were still missing on Saturday.

As much as 7.62cm of rain fell on Saturday afternoon and evening in Houston, feeding fears of renewed flooding.

Officials said that bayous were responding well and only one new evacuation order for 30 homes in Wharton southwest of Houston were ordered or recommended in low-lying and riverfront areas of southeast Texas outside the nation’s fourth-largest city.

The Brazos River southwest of Houston was the main area of concern as floodwaters moved from north and central Texas toward the Gulf of Mexico.

A creek that empties into the Brazos River — which is expected to rise until this morning and crest at 15m — went up 1.2m between the time Ricky McCullough, 47, and a friend measured it on Friday night and Saturday morning. An alligator poked its snout above water as he talked, followed by a black water moccasin snake slithering along the muddied water.

“I’m concerned about it enough, but I’m a lot more concerned because we have a lot of older people living down here,” McCullough said.

He’s also worried about the forecast of heavy rains — about 2.5cm to 5cm projected for the greater Houston area, according to the US National Weather Service. However, lead forecaster Scott Overpeck in the Houston office said the storms are expected to be slow-moving, and if they stall out, portions of the area could receive between 10cm to 12.5cm in just a few hours.

Earlier in the week, the Colorado River in Wharton and the San Jacinto River near Houston were threatening homes, but the National Weather Service said both are expected to recede below flood stage by yesterday.

Wharton authorities said they were considering lifting a mandatory evacuation; residents from 30 homes were ordered to evacuate on Friday.

In Central Texas, about 2,000 volunteers and 100 members of an elite search and rescue team searched for a group of people whose vacation house was swept away in a massive flood on the Blanco River.

Among the missing was six-year-old William Charba, the son of Randy Charba, 42, and Michelle Charba, 43. Michelle’s body was found on Wednesday. Michelle’s mother, Sue Carey, 71, was still missing, but officials said late on Friday that they had identified the remains of her father, retired dentist Ralph Carey, 73.

Jonathan McComb, the lone survivor from the house, and his family had joined the Charbas and the Careys for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, all coming from Corpus Christi. McComb’s wife, Laura, 33, and four-year-old daughter, Leighton, are still unaccounted for. The body of their six-year-old son, Andrew, was found on Wednesday in the river.

This week’s record rainfall in Texas eased the state’s drought and swelled rivers and lakes to the point that they might not return to normal levels until next month.

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