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Search Suspended for Texas Deputy Swept Away by Floodwaters

Record rains sweep Southwest 0:16

The search for a Texas sheriff's deputy whose patrol car was swept away by floodwaters was suspended Thursday night with another heavy storm heading for the state capital, Austin. Scores of officers from at least a half-dozen agencies will resume searching Friday morning for the deputy, a seven-year veteran of the Travis County Sheriff's Office whose name wasn't released.

The deputy had breakfast with several colleagues shortly before she radioed to say her car was being overcome by fast-moving water about 2 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) Thursday as she was checking the safety of low-water crossings, said sheriff's spokesman Roger Wade, who added that colleagues were taking the news hard. "It's extremely difficult," he told NBC station KXAN of Austin. "It's rough, but we're professionals, and we'll get through it, and we'll keep searching until we find something."

The floods in central Texas were caused by a different storm system from the one that was spun off by Tropical Storm Odile, which slammed into Mexico earlier this week as a hurricane. The system unexpectedly missed major population centers in Arizona, which had bunkered in for potentially historic rainfall totals. But the storm zagged where forecasters thought it would zig, and it ended up drenching parts of extreme western Texas, closing parts of Interstate 10 near El Paso. Weather Channel meteorologist Michael Palmer said that system was expected to move east and merge with the Austin system, creating a wet and flood-prone weekend for much of the state.

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— M. Alex Johnson and Alexander Smith