Relentless rainfall brought partly from Hurricane Karl caused widespread problems up and down the Texas coast Monday, leaving at least one person missing in high floodwaters and forcing road closures and class cancellations at nearly a dozen school districts.
Search teams combed the swollen Oso Creek in Corpus Christi early for the motorist swept away in flooding. The driver called 911 for help after the rushing water picked up his small car while trying to cross the creek, Coast Guard Lt. Mary Arvidson said.
More than 7 inches of rainfall was reported over a 24-hour period through early Monday in Corpus Christi and Rio Grande Valley, which is enduring yet another soaking after being lashed by Hurricane Alex and two other tropical systems.
"Any rain that falls now will go directly into the runoff," National Weather Service meteorologist Joel Veeneman said. "There's no way for the ground to absorb anymore."
Corpus Christi waded through the worst of the downpour. Even more showers were on the way, expected to continue at least through Wednesday and exacerbate flooding that had already triggered a small number of evacuations. Oso Creek was at least 8 feet above flood stage, and forecasters predicted it could reach record-breaking heights.
The missing driver was at least the second distress call for the Coast Guard since rain began pounding the Texas shoreline this weekend. Crews also rescued two boaters Sunday whose 18-foot skiff took on too much water near Port O'Connor.
Nearly a dozen school districts canceled classes Monday as the rain made bus routes on flooded streets impassable, and a flash flood watch was in effect through Monday night for 11 counties off the Texas coast.
In Nueces County, residents in the impoverished colonias were stranded by flooding in their slapdash communities that lack drainage and other basic infrastructure, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported.
"They're on their own," said Lionel Lopez, an advocate for colonias residents in the county. "I can't get in. I mean, it's terrible."
Karl made landfall on Mexico's Gulf Coast on Friday and soaked Veracruz, Puebla and Tabasco states in the south-central part of the country. At least 12 people in the country have been killed.
Veeneman said the rainfall in Texas wasn't directly from Karl but that the storm's moisture helped make for a "perfect combination."
Earlier this month, flooding caused by remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine killed at least eight people, including seven in Texas.