Texas Storms: Death Toll up to 5 From Flooding

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
October 31, 2015 Updated: October 31, 2015

HOUSTON—The latest on the strong storms buffeting Texas for a second day, causing flooding and possible tornadoes (all times local):

1 p.m.

The death toll from flooding in Texas has reached at least five after officials presumed that two deaths in Houston were related to the weather.

City spokesman Michael Walter said Saturday that one body was discovered in a flooded ditch. Walter says the other body was located in a wooded area east of downtown Houston, where there had been water.

Houston Fire Department Senior Capt. Ruy (ROO’-ee) Lozano declined to release the gender or other information about the two individuals, pending notification of next of kin. Walter said the coroner will make the final confirmation of the cause of death.

On Friday, two bodies were recovered after flooding in the Austin and San Antonio areas. A third was found Saturday in Travis County and was a man who went missing after his vehicle was caught in floodwaters.

The search continues for a woman who was swept away from her Austin-area home Friday.

11:45 a.m.

The death toll in Central Texas flooding has reached at least three after emergency services officials recovered a body. Another person is still missing.

Travis County Emergency Services spokeswoman Lisa Block says the body of man who was driving a vehicle Friday that was swept away near Elroy was recovered Saturday morning.

Block says several other people managed to escape from the flooded vehicle in the community that’s southeast of Austin. She had no immediate details on where the victim was located or the survivors.

Block says a woman who was caught in floodwaters Friday near her home in the same area remains missing. Block says the woman’s husband was rescued from the water.

Two other bodies were recovered Friday amid heavy rain and flooding in the San Antonio and Austin areas.

11:20 a.m.

Some light rail service has resumed in Houston amid storms that flooded roadways and sent bayous out of their banks.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Houston reported limited rail service resumed late Saturday morning in parts of Houston. Officials had suspended all service on the nearly 23-mile light rail line due to heavy rain and flooding.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for parts of Harris, Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston and Liberty counties until midday Saturday.

A separate flash flood warning covered parts of southeast Texas, including Orange, Jasper and Newton counties, until early Saturday afternoon. Flooding was predicted for the Beaumont area.

10:30 a.m.

More than 70 people spent the night at shelters in Central Texas after storms and flooding threatened or damaged their homes.

Hays County authorities said Saturday that shelters in San Marcos housed 67 people. One in Kyle had seven evacuees, and one person spent the night at Wimberley High School.

The Lehman and Wimberley shelters will close Saturday as floodwaters receded and damage assessments began. The shelter at Miller Middle School in San Marcos remained open amid cleanup.

Hundreds of low-water crossings were closed Saturday in Hays County, south of Austin.

Some residents in southeast Travis County were notified Saturday to evacuate to higher ground. Travis County Emergency Management officials say Capital Metro buses, the public transit system for the Austin area, were available to help transport evacuees to a recreation center set up as a shelter.

10 a.m.

The National Weather Service says tornadoes caused damage in three Houston-area communities.

Meteorologist Patrick Blood says between 10 and 30 homes were damaged about 7 a.m. in a subdivision in eastern Harris County by a radar-confirmed tornado.

In the Houston suburb of Friendswood, one home had a collapsed roof from a tornado that hit about 5:30 a.m. Friendswood officials say no one was injured because the home’s residents were away. About 30 other homes had minor damage.

Officials had previously reported that about 25 trailer homes were damaged and two people were injured at about 5 a.m. when a radar-confirmed tornado went through Alvin, located 30 miles south of Houston.

Blood says south-central Harris County, including Houston, has received up to 8 inches of rain since Friday.

The Houston Fire Department says it’s responded to more than 90 water rescues.

9:25 a.m.

At least two people have been hurt and more than two-dozen mobile homes damaged after a possible tornado south of Houston.

The National Weather Service says strong winds struck around 5 a.m. Saturday in Brazoria County, near Alvin.

Meteorologist Patrick Blood says about 25 trailer homes were damaged and two people were injured. He did not immediately have additional information.

Blood says south-central Harris County, including Houston, has received up to 8 inches of rain since Friday. Forecasters expect another one or two inches more an hour into early Saturday afternoon.

Blood says that will lead to standing water and street flooding, and that some bayous are out of their banks and contributing to the flooding.

9 a.m.

Storms have made travel difficult in the Houston area, where heavy rain and flooding have washed out roads and stopped some public transit.

Houston’s nearly 23-mile light rail system suspended service Saturday due to heavy rain. Houston emergency management officials say high water was also affecting public bus routes and swamping major highways.

Authorities say the Houston area had received up to 7 inches of rain since Friday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for areas near Houston, Galveston, Bryan, College Station, Tyler and Texarkana until Saturday afternoon.

Nearly 12,000 customers of Dallas-based utility Oncor (ON’-kor) were without power Saturday, mainly in parts of East Texas.

To the west, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport canceled more than 40 flights Saturday. The area received more than 16 inches of rain Friday, and flights were suspended when the control tower was flooded.