Flooding In Central Texas After Rain Pounds Austin, San Antonio | KERA News

Flooding In Central Texas After Rain Pounds Austin, San Antonio

Oct 30, 2015

Forecasters say flooded parts of Texas can't handle another soaking after getting upward of 16 inches of rain in a matter of hours but that more storms might be on the way.

A fast-moving weather disturbance from Mexico has overwhelmed already-saturated neighborhoods and swollen rivers between Austin and San Antonio. It's the same region that remnants of Hurricane Patricia pummeled last week.

The fast-moving storm packing heavy rain and destructive winds has overwhelmed rivers and prompted evacuations in the same area southwest of Austin that saw devastating spring floods.

The Blanco River in Wimberley on Friday swelled to about 26 feet, well above its 13-foot flood stage. Residents were being evacuated from the area and a community center was opened to shelter people.

No fatalities have been reported from Friday's storm as emergency personnel across South and Central Texas rushed to close roadways overwhelmed by water and respond to high-water rescues.

Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes says minor injuries were reported southeast of San Antonio where possible tornadoes destroyed buildings.

Airport, traffic tie-ups

Flights out of Austin remained suspended after 6 inches of water flooded into the ground floor of the air traffic control tower.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport said in a tweet that no flights were taking off or landing due to weather, though the airport remains open.

Water on the road forced police and emergency officials to close several miles of Interstate 35 south of Austin. That compelled southbound traffic to turn around and head north using the shoulder and what are normally southbound lanes.

Traffic moving south was backed up for miles, including in Buda, about 20 miles south of downtown Austin.

A possible tornado also destroyed some buildings in Wilson, Medina and Guadalupe counties.

More coverage

For more storm coverage, check in with Texas Public Radio in San Antonio and KUT in Austin.

A flooded creek in northeast San Antonio on Friday.
Credit Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio

State of disaster in Comal County

Officials in Comal County, just northeast of San Antonio, have declared a state of disaster because of ongoing flash flooding.

The county proclamation says the area "has suffered widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property" or that there's a threat of those occurring.

Some parts of the county have received 11 inches of rain.

In nearby Hays County, Interstate 35 south of Austin has reopened three hours after being closed by flash floodwaters.

However, Hays County spokeswoman Laureen Chernow says traffic on the highway remains slow and congested. She says many other roads in Hays County remain closed by floodwaters and that people should not drive in the area unless absolutely necessary.

The flooding affected the same area devastated by torrential rains over Memorial Day weekend.

School bus caught in floodwaters

Four students with special needs and two adults have been rescued from a school bus caught in floodwaters that reached the top of the vehicle's wheels near San Antonio.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office says the rescue Friday morning involved a Northside Independent School District bus near Helotes.

The vehicle became trapped as storms swamped parts of Central and South Texas. Sheriff's spokesman James Keith says the bus was headed to Los Reyes Elementary School when the vehicle got stranded in high water.

Emergency personnel used an extension ladder to reach the bus and rescue the driver and passengers.

All of the children were checked by medical personnel, then transported to school.

Investigators will review whether that bus driver and another Northside ISD driver whose bus was also caught in flooding and five people rescued should be ticketed.

Church members rescued from Wimberley inn

Authorities have rescued members of a church group staying at a Wimberley inn that flooded after heavy rains caused a nearby creek to overflow.

Kathleen Haney was among eight members of the Dallas group who found themselves trapped by rushing waters Friday on the second floor of the bed-and-breakfast.

She says National Guardsmen and firefighters strung a rope between the inn's staircase and higher ground, and then guided the church members across.

Haney says at least 5 feet of water snapped trees and swept away three of the church members' cars.

The eight church members and another couple staying at the inn were brought to safety, along with the inn's owners. They were taken to a community center in Wimberley, where about 100 evacuees were getting ready to leave Friday afternoon.

Three kayakers caught in high waves

The Coast Guard says three kayakers has been treated and released after being caught in storms and high waves in the Gulf of Mexico off Freeport.

Two kayakers were rescued Friday morning about one-half mile off the mouth of the Brazos River. The third man reached shore on his own.

A Coast Guard rescue boat crew was dispatched, amid 6-foot waves, after a person on shore summoned help for the three kayakers.

Rescuers found one man clinging to the side of his kayak, while another man was still on his kayak. Rescuers provided medical care and transported the pair to shore. A third kayaker was located on shore and treated by emergency personnel.

Forecasters issued a coastal flood advisory for the Freeport area from Friday night to early Saturday.