The deluge continues in Texas -- and another storm is coming

Spectators brave the rain to watch the qualifying session for the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sunday.

Spectators brave the rain to watch the qualifying session for the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sunday.

(Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images)

The morning after remnants of Hurricane Patricia combined with another coastal storm to dump more than 2 feet of rain on parts of Texas, the deluge had tapered off but hadn’t ended.

Showers continued Sunday in rural Navarro County, about 50 miles south of Dallas, which saw the most rain statewide since Friday, along with some of the most widespread flooding. The storm washed out roads, bridges and culverts and closed Interstate 45 intermittently until Sunday morning.

“We are in recovery mode at this point and assessing damage throughout the county,” said Eric Meyers, the county’s emergency management coordinator. Officials made up to 75 water rescues, he said, but no deaths or injuries were reported. Among those rescued were two Union Pacific crew members who had to swim for high ground after their 64-car, Houston-bound freight train derailed early Saturday during flooding.


No one was injured, although 46 rail cars and two locomotives were stuck overnight.

“With some relief from the weather, crews worked through the night and were able to clear the derailed rail cars by this morning,” Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff said Sunday.

Railroad employees have begun to repair the damaged tracks, but were hampered through the day in areas where water was still rushing over the tracks.

“We have no firm time to reopen the line, but it will be at least tomorrow,” DeGraff said.

A number of homes also were affected.

“We know we’re going to have residential structures throughout the county affected” by the flooding, Meyers said. About 300 homes had minor to major flooding during a Memorial Day storm that brought less rain to the area than the post-Patricia downpour.

As showers continued Sunday, Meyers said local and state teams were heading out to clear roads and check homes before another storm is expected to hit later this week.

“That’s our No. 1 challenge over the next 72 hours,” he said.

Central and southeast Texas had been bracing for a repeat of the Memorial Day storm, which dumped more than 20 inches of rain and killed 31 people in the region, sweeping away homes southwest of Austin and flooding about 1,500 in and around Houston.

In San Antonio, a 41-year-old man washed away by floodwaters Saturday was able to survive uninjured, provided clothes by Good Samaritans and located by rescuers Sunday, according to San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove.


Houston saw about half as much rain as it did in the Memorial Day storm (and less than that in many places), and, unlike the rains in May that came in a matter of hours, these showers fell gradually overnight, swelling bayous that by Sunday were already receding, according to Michael Walter, spokesman for an emergency operations center that closed Sunday morning.

There were 28 high-water rescues overnight, including a homeless man trapped in a tree by flood waters, but no injuries and only three reports of homes damaged around the city, Walter said.

Some major roads and highways flooded, including Interstate 10, which was closed temporarily. But as waters receded, it looked nothing like it had in May, when dozens of drivers were stranded, their cars marooned in rising water.

“This looked like it could have been a similar setup to the Memorial Day storm, but rather than being a concentrated rainfall over a few hours, it spread itself out overnight. We did see about 10 inches downtown, but because it was spread out, the bayous could handle it,” he said. Many drivers also stayed off the roads overnight, during the worst flooding.

The rain fell at about one-half to 3 inches an hour, slow enough for the runoff to be absorbed, said Patrick Blood, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in nearby League City.

“The culverts and the drain systems were able to handle it better, and rainfall rates were not as high as what we saw Memorial Day,” Blood said.


Light rain was still falling Sunday morning, but he said the storms were expected to taper off later in the day, with flash-flood watches extending from southeast Texas into western Louisiana until Monday.

Twitter: @mollyhf


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