At least one dead in Central Texas flooding

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by TODD UNGER, KVUE.com, & AP reports

WFAA, KVUE.com & Associated Press

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 5:55 PM

FOLLOW LIVE TWEETS ON THE FLOODING

AUSTIN — Strong storms dumped more than a foot of rain in Central Texas overnight Wednesday, prompting officials to rescue people from trees and cancel classes in a few Austin-area school districts.

Emergency personnel in helicopters and boats have rescued more than 100 people stranded in vehicles, stuck in trees, and on their rooftops during the storm-related flooding.

The hardest-hit area was in south Austin near Onion Creek.

A body was recovered late Thursday afternoon. Police were still trying to indentify the person.

Officials said more than 1,000 homes were evacuated near the creek. Many suffered heavy flood damage.

Gerald Nielsen and his mother barely made it out of their home in time. It is a total loss.

"The water got right up to that ceiling fan," he said. "I didn't know what to do, I was like shocked!"

Numerous cars floated at least a mile away from the owners' driveways, as did a gazebo.

Bluff Springs Road remained partially closed off through the early evening as a bridge over the creek, which crested at 41 feet, remained covered in debris.

"This is the worst I've ever seen it," said Nate Hillman, who pointed out the area also suffered heavy damage during floods in 2001. 

Others areas of Travis County also sustained significant damage.

Just before midnight, the Lower Colorado River Authority said floodgate operations were underway at Tim Miller Dam due to heavy rains over Lake Austin.

To the southeast, Houston motorists were slowed Thursday morning by heavy rain, which caused flooding in some areas. A flash flood warning was issued until midday Thursday for parts of Southeast Texas, including Beaumont.

Emergency rescues were needed in the pre-dawn hours in rural Hays County. A helicopter plucked four people from trees near Buda, said Warren Hassinger, a spokesman for Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.

"It looks like the mission completed, they apparently were able to get those people hoisted," Hassinger said. He had no further details about the rescue.

The Hays County Sheriff's Office had no reports of injuries related to the storms, Deputy Tom Ormsby said.

Austin Energy reported nearly more than 12,000 customers without electricity on Thursday.

Evacuations were ordered along flooded creeks in nearby San Marcos and Wimberley. Schools in Wimberley, San Marcos and Lockhart closed Thursday.

Flash flooding warnings covered Travis, Falls, Comal, Hays, Freestone, Limestone, Anderson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Lee counties.

Austin-Travis County EMS said crews have responded to multiple water rescues. EMS worked to rescue a woman on Spicewood Springs after going into labor. Several residents in Pflugerville were evacuated because of their homes flooding.

KVUE's Andy Pierrotti took this video near Bee Cave Road just before 9 p.m. Wednesday:

 

 

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