Texas was slammed this weekend by the remnants of Hurricane Patricia. The rain that fell was record-breaking, and it caused dozens of high water rescues across the state.
On Saturday, rain fell at a rate of 2-3 inches every hour. Major interstates became covered with water by late Saturday, which caused city’s emergency operations centers to escalate to a Level 1.
Since late Thursday, over 20 inches of rain have fallen near Corsicana, which made I-45 impassible.
The heavy rains continued east on Sunday, and flash flood warnings were issued from the east Texas coast to the Florida Panhandle. Texas isn’t just being threatened by rain; there are also tornado warnings until Monday.
According to KTRK, by Saturday evening, approximately 6,000 CenterPoint Energy customers across Houston had no power.
“Residents who must travel are asked to plan extra time, and to not drive through areas of high water,” the Emergency Operation Center stated. “If water is too deep to see the street, it is too deep for a vehicle.”
Flood waters aren’t only making it impossible for vehicles to travel; they also derailed a Union Pacific train.
Interstate 45 was closed from both directions in Corsicana, Texas when rain waters began to rise up over the highway.
A homeless man is missing in San Antonio after flood waters swept him away while he was trying to save a dog early Saturday morning. The San Antonio Fire Department could not find the man and had to call off their search when inclement weather moved into the area.
According to reports, a funnel cloud caused damage in the Houston area on Saturday morning near Texas State Highway 288 and Beltway 8.
Another rescue took place early Saturday morning north of Corsicana, Texas when rescue teams were sent out to help rescue two Union Pacific employees from a partially submerged train.
Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff told WFAA, “Our conductor and engineer, once they put the train into emergency stop, they were able to jump free of the locomotive as they saw the water start to rise. They swam to some high ground there. They’re wet but in good condition.”
Southwest of Austin, homes were damaged or swept away by the river water, and 1,500 homes around Houston had flood damage also.
So far, no deaths have been reported in Texas.
Officials noted that months of severe Texas heat made the flooding more manageable. The rain fell steadily instead of in downpours, and the dry ground soaked it up.
“We had much drier grounds that could handle more of the rainfall and soak it in,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Overpeck said. “We had drought conditions we were dealing with.”
Francisco Sanchez, a spokesman for Harris County’s emergency managment said the public responded really well to the storm and the flooding.
“Lessons learned from the May floods also seemed to keep more drivers out of danger,” authorities said. “Only roughly two dozen cars were towed from flooded roads in Houston and emergency crews responded to only a handful of rescues,” said Sanchez.
Do you know what to do if a flood is possible in your area?
Know flood terminology:
Flood watch: Flooding is possible.
Flash Flood watch: A flash flood is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground.
Flood Warning: A flood is occurring or will occur soon. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring or will occur soon. Seek higher ground on foot immediately.
If you are ordered to evacuate:
Take only the items you need.
Turn off gas, electricity and water in your home.
Disconnect all your appliances.
Do not try to walk in moving water.
Do not try to drive through moving flood water.
Stay tuned to emergency stations.
[Image via: The Weather Channel]