Tags: texas | heavy | rains | patricia | remnants

Texas Deluged by Heavy Rain, Fueled Patricia's Remnants

Saturday, 24 Oct 2015 05:27 PM

Heavy rains fueled by the remnants of Hurricane Patricia inundated many parts of Texas on Saturday, triggering flash floods, derailing a freight train and forcing evacuations in at least one county, officials said.

Cities in the state's flood-prone Gulf of Mexico region including Houston braced for potential floods as rain systems intensified by Patricia, now a tropical depression after crashing into Mexico's west coast as a powerful hurricane, pushed across the state.

Houston, the state's second most populous metropolitan area with 6.1 million people, was under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. (0300 GMT Sunday).

There were no confirmed deaths. In San Antonio, a woman reported that her boyfriend was swept into a drainage ditch by flood waters as he walked his dog early Saturday, and he was considered missing, officials said.

A flash flood in Navarro County, south of Dallas, was so forceful it swept a Union Pacific freight train off the tracks, pushing locomotives and some rail cars on their sides, according to a company spokesman and TV footage. There were no reported injuries.

The rainfall totaled up to 20 inches (50 cm) in little more than a day in the Dallas-area town of Powell, according to one report, and led to the cancellation of dozens of flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Flash flood watches and warnings covered every major center in Texas for the weekend, an area with population in the millions.

In the Galveston area, authorities urged a voluntary evacuation of elderly and medically fragile residents on the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston Bay.

"Emergency responders may be unable to reach them," said Mark Henry, a judge and emergency management director in Galveston County.

National forecasters predicted 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) of rain will hit the coastal area by Monday morning, combined with tides up to 5 feet (1.5 meter) and wind gusts up to 35 mph overnight on Saturday.

The conditions could hinder transportation to and from the peninsula. Power outages are also possible as a result of gale force winds, authorities said.

Residents in some areas north of Houston were being told to expect up to 20 inches (50 cm) before Monday.

"The best-case scenario is our forecast is going to be a bust and we'll get much needed rainfall," said Brian Kyle, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Houston and Galveston.

"The worst that could happen is that travel is impacted, intermittent power outages and any time you have substantial rain in a large metro area, the concrete ground doesn't absorb water and that results in flooding," Kyle said.

Central, western and northern regions of the state were drenched on Friday and Saturday, with rain between 5 inches (13 cm) and 10 inches (25 cm) by Saturday afternoon, according to Accuweather.

Some parts of the Texas Hill Country in the central part of the state, known to weather officials as Flash Flood Alley for its flood-prone conditions, received 8 inches (20 cm) in eight hours Saturday.

The town of Powell, about 50 miles (80 km) south of Dallas in Navarro County, received 20 inches of rain in the past 30 hours, according to meteorologist Brett Rathbun of Accuweather.

On Saturday, authorities in Navarro County requested sandbags for an unspecified number of homes that were being evacuated due to flooding, the statement said. Interstate 45 in Navarro County was shut in some spots due to rising waters, stranding some drivers.

Flash flooding in that county tipped part of a Union Pacific train carrying cement on to its side, and two crew members operating the train swam to safety, Jeff DeGraff, a Union Pacific Railroad spokesman, told CNN.

About 100 flights were canceled on Saturday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the country's busiest air hubs, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Further south in San Antonio, dozens of streets were blocked with barricades in due to high water, according to the city's Emergency Operations Center.

Heavy rain also flooded streets in parts of the state capital, Austin, which has a population of about 910,000.

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Heavy rains fueled by the remnants of Hurricane Patricia inundated many parts of Texas on Saturday, triggering flash floods, derailing a freight train and forcing evacuations in at least one county, officials said.Cities in the state's flood-prone Gulf of Mexico region...
texas, heavy, rains, patricia, remnants
Saturday, 24 Oct 2015 05:27 PM
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