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Texas Flooding: Residents Flee as Rain Raises River Levels

While the barrage of deadly thunderstorms that hit Texas has tapered off, several cities aren't out of danger.
/ Source: Associated Press

HOUSTON —While the barrage of deadly thunderstorms that hit Texas has tapered off, several cities aren't out of danger, as officials warn about possible flooding as the week goes on from rivers swollen by rainfall.

In suburban Houston, the rains have sent the San Jacinto River above flood stage, and its waters were expected to cover streets in subdivisions along the west fork of the river, possibly stranding people their homes for several days if they didn't leave.

In Wharton, about 60 miles southwest of Houston, the mayor asked residents who live in 300 homes on the west side of the city to voluntarily evacuate due to the predicted rise of the Colorado River. In the Parker County town of Horseshoe Bend in North Texas, officials asked about 250 residents to leave their homes as the Brazos River was expected to rise above its flood stage of 21 feet on Thursday.

The storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma this week have left at least 21 people dead and about a dozen others missing.

Image: Local residents are rescued by firefighters during flooding in Kyle, Texas
Mark Norris, walking in black T-shirt, Retha Norris, Ally Smith, 4, and Christina Norris (L to R), are rescued by firefighters after clinging to a tree at their home during flooding in Kyle, Texas, on May 24.JAY JANNER / Austin American-Statesman via Reuters

While the Houston area got a respite from rainy weather for most of Wednesday, the heavy rains from earlier in the week were still making their way downstream. By late Wednesday, the San Jacinto was at 52 feet, nearly three feet above its flood stage, said Kim Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Flood Control District.

"We're advising residents to take any measures that they deem appropriate for their safety as the river continues to rise," she said.

In Houston, between 800 and 1,400 homes have already been damaged by the flooding. Thousands of homes were also damaged or destroyed in the central Texas corridor — 744 of them in San Marcos alone.

This has been the wettest month on record for Texas, even with several days left. While rain is in the forecast the next couple of days for many of the affected areas, the chances for showers are greater during the weekend.

- The Associated Press