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Texas floods claim at least two lives

Days of heavy rains drenched  central Texas, leaving parts flooded and contributing to the deaths of at least two people. Another person was missing.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Several days of heavy rains that drenched soggy Central Texas left parts of the region flooded and contributed to the deaths of at least two people. Another person was missing.

“Everything that can flood is flooding,” Travis County Sheriff’s spokesman Roger Wade. “We’ve got people out patrolling to try to help anybody we can at the low-water crossings.”

An 18-year-old woman’s body was found Wednesday in the Houston suburb of Pasadena after witnesses say the sport utility vehicle she was traveling in went out of control, hit the side of a bridge, flipped over and slid into an overflowing bayou, the Houston Chronicle reported. A man tied a rope around his waist and tried to wade into the waters, but was unable to save the woman.

The weather was a factor in the death of a 52-year-old woman in San Antonio on Tuesday evening when she was swept away by fast-moving floodwaters while trying to walk through a low-water crossing. The woman, Helen Martinez, had tried to get out of the water but was then swept away, said Officer Joe Rios of the San Antonio Police Department.

Opening dams
Rescue crews west of Austin in Hays County, meanwhile, delayed their search of the Blanco River for Laurie Pineda, 24, who has been missing since Sunday. The car she had been driving was swept from a low-water crossing over the river while she was trying to cross it. Pineda’s male passenger was rescued.

The Lower Colorado River Authority said it had opened or planned to open several dams to move floodwaters as quickly and safely as possible to Lake Travis, which was expected to rise to at least 10 feet into its flood pool.

Several tornadoes were also reported in the region, including in Austin, San Antonio and Gillespie County. No injuries were immediately reported.

Many areas around central Texas and the Texas Hill Country received 5 to 8 inches of rain from Sunday through Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service said. The rain stopped in Austin by mid-afternoon and the storm front was moving east out of the area.

About 11 inches had been measured northwest of San Antonio, near Boerne.