Archive for Sunday, July 1, 2007

Some flooded-out Texans urged to leave after returning home

July 1, 2007

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— Returning residents who had evacuated their home this week kept watch Saturday night on the Brazos River, which officials expected to swell again today after opening another flood gate at a nearby lake.

The river was expected to crest around 26 feet, a foot above flood stage, after Brazos River Authority officials opened a fourth flood gate at Possum Kingdom Lake in north Texas on Saturday afternoon.

The river peaked above 27 feet on Thursday, prompting Parker County to order a mandatory evacuation of 2,000 people.

Authorities encouraged residents to seek higher ground as the lake runoff moved downstream.

"The next crest doesn't appear that it's going to be as bad as the first one," Parker County spokesman Joel Kertok said. "We just need to keep an eye on it."

Storms on the southern Plains have claimed 11 lives in Texas starting last week. Forecasters expected rain to continue dumping on already sopped parts of North Texas up through Missouri as part of a lingering storm system.

On Saturday, there were reports of tornadoes touching down in southwest Missouri. No injuries were reported and officials were awaiting damage reports.

The rain-swollen rivers in western Missouri were expected to continue to rise into next week, emergency officials said.

About 100 people near Marble Falls in central Texas remained stranded for a fourth day. Flood and water damage made roads impassable, said Christa Bromley, a Burnet County Emergency Management spokeswoman. The residents had been notified of the evacuation but chose to stay in their homes near Hamilton Creek.

Authorities said all were safe, and they had power and drinkable water.

Authorities were still searching for two 20-year-old men whose sport utility vehicle was found submerged in a creek Thursday in Burnet County.

Highways across wide areas of Oklahoma remained closed Saturday because of flood damage to roads and bridges.

Heavy equipment operators worked west of Ada to pick up five freight cars and a locomotive that derailed Friday after running into water on the track, said Joe Faust, a spokesman for Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway. There were no injuries, and no threat to nearby residents, Faust said.

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