President Obama declares flood disaster in Texas: More rain expected
Posted: May 30, 2015 1:44 PM CDT
Torrential rains have already given the state its wettest month on record, according to Texas A&M climatologists. And extreme river and creek flooding has broken many records, and swept away hundreds of homes.
Oklahoma has also broken its monthly rain record, according to reports. Six people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of drenching rain there. Flooding also killed people in northern Mexico, bringing the total death toll to at least 42.
Some of the victims died in tornadoes.
Late Friday, President Barack Obama declared \"a major disaster exists in the State of Texas.\" He ordered federal aid into the state.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in 70 counties, which allows state resources to be used for storm response.
The ground is soaked in much of both states, leaving little place for any additional runoff to retreat except into already stressed creeks and rivers.
And flood warnings dotted the National Weather Service map early Saturday from the Texas Gulf Coast up through Missouri; most last through Saturday morning, but in some hotspots, such as Dallas, they extend into late Sunday.
Fortunately, early Saturday's flooding was mostly minor, and weather relief appears on its way.
A cold front colliding with steamy Gulf moisture is triggering the showers, which dumped up to 3 inches in some places on Friday. But the colder drier air will win out, bringing relief from rain as the weekend continues, the weather service said.
The NWS warned motorists not to drive through flooded streets. Many people who die in floods drown in their cars. A Mesquite, Texas, man was found drowned in his pickup truck early Friday, a local fire official said.
The flooding wiped out many homes in San Marcos, which lies between Austin and San Antonio.
Resident Debra Diaz said she is recovering after the floods robbed her of everything she owned. \"I'm just thankful that I have the boys and my family and friends,\" Diaz said.
She was asleep when a friend banged on her door to warn her of the flood. \"If it weren't for her, we would have been stuck in there,\" Diaz said. \"Water just coming toward us, gushing. I'm talking about water coming to my waist. It was high.\"
The family's car was full of water, so they had to get out on foot. She said the family managed to flag down a school bus, which took them to safety -- but just barely.
\"The water was already past the tires of the school bus,\" she said. \"That's how high it was.\"