Flooding in Austin and powerful storms with high winds and drenching rain are prompting authorities across a wide swath of the country to ban Halloween trick-or-treating for at least a day.
More than a foot of rain has fallen in central Texas, and the National Weather Service reported significant flooding in and around the Texas state capital.
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Several schools canceled classes, and The Associated Press reported that up to 3,000 people headed to evacuation centers
in the city of San Marcos, about 30 miles south of Austin.
Emergency workers went door-to-door Thursday urging residents to leave their homes before floodwaters from the Blanco River converged on the San Marcos River to inundate the region.
“We’re anticipating some serious flooding,” the AP reported San Marcos police Chief Howard Williams as saying. “We’ve been trying to get ahead of the game, getting as many people out of these low-lying areas as they can.”
Reuters reported that officials in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee
are urging families to keep their children from trick-or-treating.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Tara Dudzik, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Indiana. “Winds of up to 60 mph, and lightning — those are the main threats we’d be concerned about.”
City officials in Indianapolis and Muncie, Ind., said they have postponed trick-or-treating. To the north, Toledo is among 30 cities in Ohio that have put off the annual hunt for candy until as late as Sunday, Reuters said.
Of course, there is little authorities can do to stop the foolhardy. In Cincinnati and Nashville, where trick-or-treating has not been postponed, officials are urging caution.
USA Today says almost 42 million people could contend with severe thunderstorms
before Thursday ends. The Storm Prediction Center says “damaging winds and some tornadoes will be possible with what should be a complex and potentially messy storm.”
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