More Severe Storms Possible For Flood-Hit Texas
Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET
Residents of southeastern Texas woke up Wednesday morning to another flash-flood warning, as a new round of thunderstorms rumbled across parts of the already flood-soaked state.
The National Weather Service forecasts more storms for Wednesday across the region, some of them possibly severe.
Near Dallas, the Padera Lake dam was breached for a time, forcing evacuations before officials drained the lake to reduce pressure on the earthen structure.
The Houston Emergency Operations Center confirmed an additional storm-related death Wednesday. As many as 18 people have died in flooding and storms in Texas and Oklahoma since Sunday, with many others unaccounted for.
As NPR's John Burnett reported from Austin on Morning Edition, cleanup efforts are well underway in places such as the Shoal Creek Saloon:
"Owner Ray Canfield hopes to be putting boiled crawfish and boudin sausage back on his tables after he power-washes all the mud out, replaces all of his kitchen equipment, and satisfies the platoon of city code people.
"But the Cajun chef is a whole lot better off than folks other parts of the water-logged Southwest.
"Gazing down upon the scoured landscape left by the historic flood on the Blanco River, an amazed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described the 'tsunami-like' power of the water.
"When the moisture-swollen storm reached Houston on the coastal bend, it dumped nearly a foot of rain in some places. The aptly-named Bayou City...became an aquatic metropolis yesterday. The mayor has declared a local state of disaster.
"Panicked drivers abandoned an estimated 2,500 vehicles ... as the murky water crept up highway ramps and onto roadways. The flooding damaged 500 to 700 homes in Harris County."
The Houston Chronicle reports that videos shot by cameras in drones show "stunning images of wrecked bridges, destroyed buildings and swelling waterways during the Memorial Day weekend."
One video shows a bridge over the Blanco River that was destroyed by flooding over the Memorial Day weekend. The bridge — located on Fischer Store Road in Wimberley — failed after water levels rose following more than 12 inches of rainfall on Saturday, according to the video's description.
The Associated Press, meanwhile, reports there has been criticism of the warnings issued by local officials in advance of the weekend storms:
"Authorities defended their warnings to residents ahead of the weather, which included alerts via phone and in person, but acknowledged challenges with reaching tourists and said a messaging system in Houston is still waiting for improvements.
" 'Nobody was saying, "Get out; get out; get out," ' said Brenda Morton of Wimberley. 'We're pretty trained, so we were calculating. We knew the flood plain. People who were visiting or had summer homes, you have company from out of town, you don't know. You don't know when that instant is.'
"Authorities in surrounding Hays County said warnings included multiple cellphone alerts and calls to landlines. Some received in-person warnings to evacuate, but officials could not say whether those in the washed-away home talked to police."
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.