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Sunday, May 24

More on the historic rain across US plains states: historic floods

I note they got a lucky break in that the flooding hit over the Memorial Day weekend, which many people combine with summer vacation.  If not for that, there could have been several more deaths  (CNN now reporting 3 dead with at least twice that number still missing.)  And because the flash floods gave no time to collect belongings, might as well be entirely out of the house and region until the rains/ flooding subside.  The houses would have been turned to mud inside anyhow, the ones that weren't destroyed.

The CNN report repeats much in the AP report I featured about an hour ago but adds the following. My apology to CNN for ripping apart their report and putting it back together in the order I thought most impt:

National Guard troops arrived early Sunday to help with evacuations and flood control.
On the National Weather Service map, chartreuse squiggles signified overflowing rivers and creeks from southern Texas to northern Missouri. Much of the state of Oklahoma was covered in the bright green.
In addition to the worst-hit areas, flood watches and warnings reached from the Texas and western Louisiana Gulf coasts up through eastern Kansas and western Missouri.
The Pedernales Electric Cooperative, whose crews were working to restore power in the area, shared photos on social media of devastating damage, saying conditions were making accessing equipment difficult. Some of the power cooperative's facilities had been washed away, officials said.

Wichita Falls 'historic flood'

Wichita Falls, Texas, was warned that its river could widely overflow its banks and severely flood broad swaths of surrounding areas, as well as large parts of the city. Officials published a potential flooding map with a red zone nearly the size of the city.
"Predictions from the National Weather Service indicate that significant flooding along the Wichita River is very likely," the town's emergency management agency said. "
The National Weather Service is calling this an 'historic' flood event."
"We do have whole streets that have maybe one or two houses left on them, and the rest are just slabs," said Kharley Smith, emergency management coordinator in Hays County, Texas.

Crews are still surveying damage, she told reporters Sunday; between 350 and 400 homes in the Texas county are gone, and more than 1,000 were damaged. Two main bridges washed away, she said, and other sustained major structural damage.

In San Marcos, Texas, a city between San Antonio and Austin that was among the hardest hit areas, Fire Marshal Ken Bell said at least one person was confirmed dead. Crews are searching for three missing people, he said, and others are trapped in areas that authorities can't reach because bad weather has forced them to stop air rescues.

It was not immediately clear whether the fatality was one of the people reported missing. Authorities don't yet know how devastating the damage is, and they're bracing for the possibility that more rainfall could send floodwaters surging back into the city, he said.

"Right now is not the time to return to your homes," Bell said Sunday after the severe weather forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
    "We have infrastructure damage throughout the entire county (of Hays)" he said. "There are power lines down, debris in the roadways, bridges undermined -- this is not the time to start moving."
    It was a warning other authorities in the region echoed after rainfall broke records and river banks in northern Texas and Oklahoma overnight.

    At least two people died in storms that hit Oklahoma. On Saturday, a 33-year-old woman in Tulsa died after her car hydroplaned, said Keli Cain, the state's emergency management spokeswoman.
    Nearby in the town of Claremore early Sunday, a firefighter died attempting a high-water rescue as emergency crews scrambled to pull residents from floodwaters.

    With more rain falling, the torrents have already pushed Oklahoma City handily past a rain record, and rescuers have carried out at least 48 high-water rescues.

    More than 1,000 in shelters

    In Hays County, Texas, adjacent to Austin, hundreds of people were rescued or evacuated from their homes, according to sheriff's office spokeswoman Lt. Jeri Skrocki.

    Authorities had to open more evacuation centers because the first one filled up so quickly.
    More than 1,000 people were in shelters Sunday afternoon, Smith said.
    Despite the heavy rain, western Oklahoma and parts of the Texas Panhandle and central Texas are still facing moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The rainfall should put a dent in it, though.

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