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  • Latest on flooding: Third body pulled from Blanco River

    Published On: May 26 2015 07:53:20 AM CDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 09:48:08 PM CDT
    Texas Flood - More flooding in Austin

    Taylor Langford

    A partially submerged car in Austin.

    8:30 p.m. CDT

    Authorities say a third body has been pulled from the Blanco River that crested three times above flood stage during relentless storms in Central Texas.

    That brings to 13 the number of people killed by the holiday weekend storms in Texas.

    Hays County officials say 11 people remain missing in the area. That includes eight people who were in a vacation home that was swept away and slammed into a bridge downstream.

    Two 6-year-olds and a 4-year-old were among those inside. They have been missing since early Sunday morning.

    Authorities have identified those pulled from the Blanco River only as two men and one woman.

    8 p.m.

    Authorities in the Austin area say they've found the bodies of two more people after waters receded from flash flooding Saturday.

    A spokesman for the Williamson County Sheriff's Office says a state trooper flying over Georgetown saw a pickup truck that had become visible Tuesday. Spokesman Fred Thomas says a body was found nearby about 11 a.m.

    Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Travis County Sheriff's Office says the body of a person was found Tuesday in a vehicle in northeastern Travis County. Spokesman Roger Wade says two other occupants had been rescued from the vehicle Monday night, but the third couldn't be rescued.

    The finds bring the Texas death toll from the Memorial Day weekend storms to 12.

    7:15 p.m. CDT

    Weather forecasters say Memorial Day weekend storms that dumped rain across two-thirds of Texas were epic not only in the area affected but in the intensity they maintained.

    Meteorologist Kurt Van Speybroeck is an emergency response specialist for the National Weather Service Southern Regional Headquarters in Fort Worth. He says the storms that formed from the Texas Panhandle to the Edwards Plateau on Saturday unleashed what was, in some places, record flooding when it met rich Gulf moisture.

    The Blanco River had a record flood that registered more than 40 feet before the gauge became inoperable. Flooding along the Red River and its tributaries was the worst for that basin since at least 2007 and perhaps since the mid-1980s. The flooding in the Houston area was the worst since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

    Van Speybroeck says there won't be another broad rainstorm for several days, with only scattered thunderstorms expected. That should allow flooded basins to dry out.

    ___

    6:30 p.m. CDT

    Houston officials have confirmed another fatality from flash flooding.

    A city statement says the latest fatality from flooding late Monday and early Tuesday is an Asian man whose body was found in Braes Bayou. They say he's likely a man who was lost during an attempted water rescue early Tuesday that led to the rescue boat capsizing. An elderly couple, ages 85 and 87, are still missing.

    A total of four people have been killed in flooding in Houston.

    ___
        
    6:15 p.m. CDT

    Authorities say all streams in Harris County except one have returned to their banks.

    The Harris County Flood Control District says waters were receding across the county except for the West Fork of the San Jacinto River in Humble. The district said that river will remain above its banks into the weekend.

    The county is home to Houston. It was inundated by rain from storms during the Memorial Day weekend, causing flooding that affected almost every part of the city.

    6 p.m. CDT

    A man bicycling in Houston came across a casket that was apparently swept from a nearby cemetery into a roadway.

    Authorities suspect floodwaters in southwestern Houston early Tuesday apparently carried the casket containing a woman's body from nearby Riceville Cemetery down Keegans Bayou onto South Braeswood Boulevard. That's where Walter Rubio found it.

    Rubio told KTRK-TV  in Houston that he "got a little scared," so he went to find police.

    Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva says officers opened the casket and found a body inside.

    Authorities are still trying to establish the identity of the woman but suspect she died eight years ago.

    Riceville Cemetery was founded in the 1850s and had its last burial in 2011.
    _____

    5:12 p.m. CDT

    Houston Mayor Annise Parker says three people who were on a boat are missing.

    Parker said at a news conference Tuesday that the three people were with a group of six - including two firefighters - helping with rescue efforts in Houston overnight.

    Parker said that the boat capsized for reasons that weren't immediately clear, and all six people fell into the water.

    The firefighters and a third person were pulled to safety but the other three remain missing.

    ___   

    5 p.m. CDT

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz says Texas is "hurting" with so much damage spread across the state.

    The Republican presidential candidate says the continuing efforts by emergency crews to help victims and neighbors' offers of assistance are a testament to the spirit of Texas.

    Cruz also said at a news conference in Houston on Tuesday that he will work with the state congressional delegation to seek federal assistance for cleanup efforts.

    4:25 p.m. CDT

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says first responders to the flooding situations across much of the state saved countless lives.

    Abbott says the disaster declarations in the state stretch from "literally the Red River to the Rio Grande."

    The Republican added that Texas will "continue to have rising waters" and warned residents to be careful.

    Nine people have died in Texas due to severe weather.

    ___

    4:15 p.m. CDT

    Houston Mayor Annise Parker says there may be as many as 4,000 properties with "significant damage."

    She also says two bodies were found in vehicles and a third was found in a bayou, and three people are missing.

    Parker said at a news conference Tuesday that authorities are trying to search property-by-property but are being hampered by high waters.

    She said about 750 vehicles had been removed from the roadways by Tuesday afternoon. Officials said earlier that about 2,500 vehicles had been abandoned.

    ---

    3:55 p.m. CDT

    San Marcos city spokeswoman Kristi Wyatt says 30 people whose whereabouts were previously unknown have been accounted for in Hays County, Texas, but that 13 people are still missing.

    Eight of those who are missing were in a vacation home that was swept down the rain-swollen river and slammed into a bridge early Monday.

    The area has seen two deaths because of the flash flooding: one in San Marcos and another in nearby Caldwell County.

    The Blanco River rapidly rose to 44.5 feet - well above the flood stage of 13 feet - before a water gauge was knocked out.

    ___

    3:20 p.m. CDT

    A North Texas man has drowned when water being released from a dam overtook his kayak.

    Chad Lorance with the Tarrant Regional Water District said Tuesday that 29-year-old Joshua Reed of Fort Worth was on the water with others when they disregarded signs Saturday and entered a restricted part of the Trinity River adjacent to the main dam for Eagle Mountain Lake.

    Lorance says water was being released from the dam to prevent the lake from overflowing from recent rains.
        
    The Tarrant County medical examiner's office says Reed died of accidental drowning.

    Reed's body was recovered Sunday. He is among the nine weather-related deaths over the weekend in Texas.

    ___

    3:15 p.m. CDT

    About 100 to 150 basketball fans stayed all night at the Toyota Center after the Houston Rockets won Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

    Arena officials posted an advisory on the scoreboard advising fans to wait out the storm after Monday's game ended around 11 p.m.

    Scott Manley, the vice president of arena operations, tells The Associated Press that most people stayed about an hour, and the numbers gradually drew down from about 15,000 to 2,500.

    Only 100-150 people stayed until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

    Rockets center Dwight Howard was among those who stuck it out, telling the Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1cfWueQ ) he didn't "think it's smart for anybody to try to be out on this weather."

    ___

    2:35 p.m. CDT

    Officials in the Mexico-Texas border town of Ciudad Acuna say the death toll from Monday's tornado did not rise from the 13 originally reported.

    City spokesman Edgar Gonzalez originally added a baby to the count of earlier confirmed deaths, but officials said later Tuesday that the baby - whose body was found amid the rubble of shattered houses - had already been included in the toll.

    Ten adults and three infants died overall. Mayor Evaristo Perez said the family of four who had been reported missing was actually out of town.

    Gonzalez said about 4,000 homes had some kind of damage, including the 800 destroyed in the city of 125,000 that's across from Del Rio, Texas.

    ---

    2 p.m. CDT

    Hays County authorities say they're trying to locate more than 40 people after a weekend of torrential rains and flooding.

    Hays County Commissioner Will Conley said the count includes a dozen people who witnesses say they saw in the floodwaters. Conley says the rest may be people who are staying elsewhere or aren't at home.

    Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith said two people died: one in San Marcos and another in nearby Caldwell County.

    Conley said the Blanco River rose to 44.5 feet before the water gauge was knocked out - well above the flood stage of 13 feet.

    ---

    1:28 p.m. CDT

    Authorities say a second person has died in Central Texas due to flooding.

    Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith said at a news conference on Tuesday that one person died in San Marcos and another died in Caldwell County.

    Smith also said the Blanco River rose by 12 to 14 feet in a 30-minute period Monday.

    Thirty people are unaccounted for, though some may be staying elsewhere. Eight of those missing were in a vacation home that was swept down the river and slammed into a bridge.

    Hays County Commissioner Will Conley said 70 homes were destroyed and 1,400 homes and properties have some type of damage after this weekend's torrential rains.

    ---

    1:15 p.m.

    Hays County Commissioner Will Conley says some of the 30 people who are unaccounted for due to the significant flooding along the Blanco River in Central Texas may be staying somewhere else.

    Conley said Tuesday at a news conference eight of those missing were in a vacation home that was swept down the rain-swollen river and slammed into a bridge early Monday.

    Conley also said 70 homes were destroyed and 1,400 homes and properties have some type of damage after this weekend's torrential rains.

    Hays County is southwest of Austin.

    ___

    1:08 p.m.

    Hays County Commissioner Will Conley says there are 30 people unaccounted for after the significant flooding along the Blanco River in Central Texas.

    Twelve of those people went missing after their vacation home was swept down the rain-swollen river and slammed into a bridge.

    A weekend of torrential rains and flooding destroyed properties in that area of Hays County, which is about 35 miles southwest of Austin.

    ---

    12:40 p.m.

    Houston emergency management coordinator Rick Flanagan says virtually every part of the city was affected by floodwaters, most notably central and southwest Houston.

    He said Tuesday that fire crews responded to about 530 water rescues overnight, mostly from people stranded in their vehicles.

    At least 2,500 abandoned vehicles are strewn about the city from drivers seeking higher ground.

    Flanagan said the priority on Tuesday is clearing the vehicles and debris.

    He says about 50,000 residents were without power late Tuesday morning, down from the 150,000 around midnight.

    ---

    11:55 a.m. CDT

    A Houston-area resident says it took him and his extended family about 8 hours overnight to go from downtown Houston to their home in suburban Bellaire.

    Jay Aiyer said flash flood alerts popped up on cellphones during a graduation ceremony on Monday night. After leaving the ceremony at about 10 p.m., his family was unable to take any exits along U.S. Highway 59 because of flooding.

    The 46-year-old said there were no advisories to show which exits were closed, adding: "It happened so quickly, nobody really knew what to expect."

    The family made it back to their neighborhood at about 6:15 a.m.

    Aiyer estimates hundreds of cars were trapped in traffic: "Everyone was in the same boat - although we all wished we had a boat at that point."

    ---

    11:25 a.m. CDT

    Officials in the Mexico-Texas border town of Ciudad Acuna say the death toll from Monday's tornado has risen to 14 after the body of a baby ripped from its mother's hands was found.

    City government spokesman Edgar Gonzalez said Tuesday that he had no additional details on the baby, who was in a carrier. Ten adults and four infants died in Monday's tornado, and a family of four is still missing.

    Gonzalez said about 4,000 homes had some kind of damage, including the 800 destroyed in the city of 125,000 that's across from Del Rio, Texas.

    Gonzalez said 300 people were hospitalized, including 10 who were in serious condition with broken bones.

    ___

    11:15 a.m. CDT

    President Barack Obama says he has expressed his condolences over the Texas flooding situation to Gov. Greg Abbott.

    Obama said Tuesday that he told Abbott that he can count on the federal government for help. Obama said he anticipates significant requests for federal assistance.

    The National Weather Service says about 11 inches of rain fell in six hours in parts of southwest Houston. Some of the worst flooding is in Wimberley, a popular tourist town along the Blanco River in the corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

    ___

    11 a.m. CDT

    Officials in the Mexico-Texas border town of Ciudad Acuna say 800 homes were completely destroyed by Monday's tornado, which killed 13 people.

    City government spokesman Edgar Gonzalez said Tuesday that about 4,000 homes had some kind of damage, including the 800 destroyed. Earlier, officials had said up to 200 homes were completely destroyed in the city of 125,000 that's across from Del Rio, Texas.

    Ten adults and three infants died in the tornado, and a family of four is still missing.

    Gonzalez said 300 people were hospitalized, including 10 who were in serious condition with broken bones.

    ___

    10:53 a.m. CDT

    Houston fire crews overnight conducted hundreds of water rescues as parts of the city saw up to 11 inches of rain.

    Mayor Annise Parker said Tuesday that crews handled about 530 water-related calls since midnight Tuesday, primarily assisting motorists stuck in their vehicles.

    Officials say the deluge overwhelmed bayous and creeks, sending a rush of water onto Interstate 45, secondary streets and into neighborhoods.

    Authorities say three people have died in Harris County, Texas - which includes Houston - and between 500 and 700 homes have sustained some level of damage.

    ___

    10:45 a.m. CDT

    A runway at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has been closed after a sinkhole developed in a nearby grassy area.

    The airport said in a statement that runway 18L was temporarily closed as a precaution Tuesday morning as crews assess the sinkhole, which is about 250 feet between the runway and a taxiway.
        
    Officials say the sinkhole, which is 25 feet by 25 feet, is not located in an area called the safety area.

    The runway will remain closed until repairs are completed.

    Airport spokesman David Magana said it is not known what caused the sinkhole. He said the airport's other six runways are currently open.

    ---

    10:23 a.m. CDT

    Houston Mayor Annise Parker says city officials will be vigilant as the area's waterways swell with several inches of rain.

    Parker said at a news conference on Tuesday morning that "we're on the alert for folks in their houses as the bayous continue to rise."

    The National Weather Service says about 11 inches of rain fell in six hours in parts of southwest Houston.

    Authorities say three people have died in Harris County, Texas - which includes Houston - and between 500 and 700 homes have sustained some level of damage.

    ---

    10:15 a.m

    About 11 inches of rain have fallen in parts of southwest Houston, leading to the widespread flooding.

    National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Reilly said most of the 9 to 11 inches of rain came during a six-hour period, from 9 p.m. Monday to 3 a.m. Tuesday.

    Reilly said the Houston suburbs of Richmond and Sugar Land also received about 11 inches of rain.

    Authorities say three people have died in Harris County, Texas - which includes the city of Houston - and between 500 and 700 homes have sustained some level of damage.

    ---

    10:04 a.m.

    Authorities say three people have died in Harris County, Texas, due to flooding.

    Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties confirmed two bodies were found in the city of Houston.

    Harris County Flood Control District spokeswoman Kim Jackson said a third body was found in a vehicle on Interstate 45.

    Jackson also said between 500 and 700 homes in Harris County have sustained some level of flood damage.

    ___

    9:55 a.m.

    The National Weather Service says a tornado with winds of 110 mph damaged several buildings in Kenner, Louisiana.

    The tornado was part of a line of severe thunderstorms that moved across the state late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

    The weather service say the EF-1 tornado damaged the roofs of a performing arts center, a fire station and another business. No one was injured.

    More than 7,000 Entergy customers were without power in the New Orleans area on Tuesday morning, and about 13,000 Southwestern Electric Power Company customers have no power in the Shreveport area.

    ___

    7:10 a.m.

    High water and flooding made driving impossible for many travelers in the Houston area, even those on the city's major highways.

    The Houston Chronicle reports Tuesday morning that no injuries have been reported but that dozens of vehicles are stranded in high water throughout the city.

    Houston METRO announced that the morning transit services were canceled. Harris County district courts canceled morning jury service. Storms also knocked out power in parts of the city.

    About 20 school districts in the area were either closed or had delayed opening.

    ___

    7 a.m.

    After the Houston Rockets won Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, flooding in the area forced hundreds of fans and at least one player to remain at Toyota Center as the heavy rain continued to fall.

    Arena officials posted an advisory on the stadium scoreboard advising fans to wait out the storm after the game ended around 11 p.m. Monday. Most left, but about 350 people stayed.

    Center Dwight Howard told the Houston Chronicle that he didn't "think it's smart for anybody to try to be out on this weather."

    While fans waited into early Tuesday morning, crews did their usual post-event cleanup.

    ___

    5:55 a.m. CDT

    Authorities are helping residents to evacuate their homes in a city near Austin, Texas, after a creek broke its banks and flooded the area.

    A weekend of torrential rain and flooding has destroyed properties in the area and 12 people are missing after their vacation home was swept down a rain-swollen river and slammed into a bridge.

    Austin County emergency crews have reported no injuries during early Tuesday evacuations from homes in Webberville, some 15 miles east of Austin.

    Crews used boats and helicopters to rescue residents from their flooded homes. Authorities have not said how many people have been evacuated from homes in the area.

    ___

    4:30 a.m. CDT

    Harris County Flood District has advised residents waking up for work and school Tuesday morning to not leave their homes.

    KHOU-TV reports The National Weather Service has issued an emergency flash flood warning for southwest Harris County and northeast Fort Bend County. Harris County includes the city of Houston.

    ___

    2:30 a.m. CDT

    Evacuations are underway in Austin, Texas, due to rising water that's threatening homes.

    The Austin American-Statesman reported early Tuesday that some houses in a neighborhood in eastern Travis County had flooded after the Deck Creek left its banks.

    EMS spokesman Mike Benevides told the newspaper crews had used boats and helicopters to rescue some residents and were conducting a door-to-door search.

    It wasn't immediately clear how many rescues had been conducted. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

    The evacuations come after a long holiday weekend that saw severe weather that led to at least four deaths across the state.

    ___

    2:15 a.m. CDT

    A flash flood warning is in effect for parts of southeast Texas as a severe storm brings heavy rain to the Houston area.

    The National Weather Service reported between 6-10 inches of rain had fallen there Monday night.

    Authorities urged residents to stay off the roads.

    The Harris County Regional Joint Information Center said that two bayous and other waterways were out of their banks and numerous roadways were impassable. The center said reports indicated some homes may have taken on water.

    CenterPoint Energy reported nearly 81,000 area customers were without power.

    ___

    2 a.m. CDT

    Recovery teams are set to resume looking for the 12 members of two families who authorities say are missing after a rain-swollen river in Central Texas carried their vacation home off its foundation, slamming it into a bridge downstream.

    Trey Hatt, a spokesman for the Hays County Emergency Operations Center, said Monday night that the "search component" of the mission was over, meaning no more survivors were expected to be found in the flood debris along the Blanco River.

    But recovery efforts were to resume Tuesday morning, following a long holiday weekend of severe weather that led to four confirmed fatalities across the state.

    Authorities were also searching for victims and assessing damage just across the Texas-Mexico border in Ciudad Acuna, where a tornado Monday killed 13 people and left at least five unaccounted for.

  • Texas Drought: Where are we now?

    Published On: May 26 2015 11:41:34 AM CDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 07:08:55 PM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -

    Since mid-April, many parts of the Big Country have witnessed some staggering rainfall numbers.

    Below are some totals from around the area:

    Abilene- 4.12"

    Albany- 9.01"

    Anson- 8.79"

    Aspermont- 7.10"

    Brady- 2.20"

    Breckenridge- 6.26"

    Brownwood- 6.18"

    Coleman- 5.27"

    Colorado City- 4.43"

    Eastland- 8.93"

    Haskell- 7.90"

    Jayton- 6.56"

    Knox City- 7.96"

    Robert Lee- 7.01"

    San Angelo- 7.89"

    Snyder- 4.03"

    Sterling City- 2.87"

    Sweetwater- 3.08"

    Throckmorton- 11.67"

    With all of this rainfall, we have seen our agricultural drought improve significantly over the past month.

    Lake levels are also improving but Wayne Lisenbee, assistant director of Abilene water utilities, says we still have a long ways to go.

    "I would say the majority of Texas is probably feeling really good about their water supplies. We are still cautious. We still think people need to use water conservation practices and be careful they're not wasting water whenever possible," says Wayne.

    Currently, Abilene receives is water from three sources. In the past month, Hubbard Creek reservoir has risen eight percent and now stands at 21 percent of capacity. Lake Fort Phantom Hill has risen three percent and currently sits at 14 percent as of May 26th. O.H. Ivie observed the smallest increase of less than one percent.

    Though all lakes are seeing an increase, you can tell by the numbers they are still drought stricken.

    One good thing to note, the extra rainfall has allowed for the city of Abilene to scalp water from the Clear Fork of the Brazos. When the stream has excess water flowing through it, the city can pump (scalp) water from the stream and put it into the Lake Fort Phantom.

    Since Memorial Day, the city has pumped approximately 400 million gallons of water into Phantom.

    They expect to continue pumping water into Phantom while extra water flows along the Clear Fork of the Brazos. 

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Taylor County, Big Country until 5 a.m.

    Published On: May 26 2015 02:28:32 PM CDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 10:02:55 PM CDT
    KTXS Logo with Alerting you to weather danger

    KTXS Logo with Alerting you to weather danger

    ABILENE, Texas -

    A severe thunderstorm watch has been posted for Taylor (Abilene), Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Fisher, Haskell, Jones, Nolan, Shackelford, Throckmorton, Stephens and Eastland counties until 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

    For the latest Severe Weather Alerts, you can CLICK HERE. If that doesn't work, you can use your browser to go to http://bit.ly/KTXS-Severe-Weather-Alerts

    Follow KTXS News on Facebook as severe weather events transpire at www.facebook.com/KTXSTelevision

    Stay tuned to KTXS for all of your weather updates

  • Texas mom, kids among missing after floods

    Published On: May 26 2015 02:27:05 AM CDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 11:01:08 PM CDT
    (CNN) -

    The McComb family is not giving up hope.

    Laura and Jonathan McComb and their two children -- Leighton and Andrew -- were at a cabin in Wimberley, Texas, on Saturday night when the skies opened, dumping record-breaking rains. Water soon swept the house downstream. Jonathan McComb was found, but the whereabouts of his wife and children remain a mystery.

    "We never lose hope," said his father, Joe McComb. "But I think reality is setting in that there is probably a good chance that it might not be the outcome we're hoping for. But you never give up hope."

    He said he suspects a loose tree fell and knocked his family's cabin off its pilings, eventually causing it to be swept downriver.

    "I don't know how many miles downriver ... the house went," Joe McComb said. "When the bridge hit the house, it took the top part of the house off. That's when all the family members got scattered."

    As the house was moving, Laura McComb called her sister, Julie Shields.

    "A little after 1 o'clock in the morning, she called me and said: 'I just want you to know the ceiling has caved in, and the house is floating down the water, and tell Mom and Dad that I love them. I love you, and pray,' " Shields told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

    She described her sister as a good wife, a loving mother and as someone who is loved.

    At least 31 people have died as a result of the storms that have ravaged parts of Texas, Oklahoma and northern Mexico since the weekend.

    And 13 people are still missing, including 11 in Hays County -- not far from the Texas capital of Austin. The other two missing are an elderly couple in Houston, the mayor's spokeswoman said.

    Houston hammed by rain

    More than 11 inches of rain fell in some spots of Houston overnight into Tuesday -- inundating byways and highways, slowing first responders, knocking out power and generally bringing the southeast Texas metropolis to a standstill.

    According to the authorities in Houston, five people died and at least two more are missing.

    "We got hammered," Houston Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Flanagan told CNN's "New Day," echoing sentiments by many others in the region in recent days. "We had cars that were stranded, mobility was stopped ... signals didn't work. It was just a madhouse."

    It still is. While the sun appeared Tuesday, more rain remains possible. And even though some parts of Houston were "high and dry," others were not, Mayor Annise Parker said.

    "The sun is shining out here right now and the city is slowly getting back to normal, but this is a little bit of a situation of a tale of two cities. Much of Houston was unaffected by the weather, but the parts that were affected by the weather were very severely hit," she told reporters.

    Underpasses, patches of highways and areas near waterways such as the San Jacinto River, Cypress Creek and Buffalo Bayou, already strained by weeks of heavy rain, remain inundated.

    "The defining feature of Houston is the small rivers that run through the city," Parker said. "Many of them went over their banks and began to flood neighborhoods."

    The result of the flash floods and river overruns is "lots and lots of abandoned cars" and large pools of standing water, making for a logistical and traffic nightmare in the nation's fourth most populated city.

    The mayor said that as many as 4,000 properties in Houston may have suffered "significant damage," although the assessment is complicated by all the water.

    "We've seen flooding before, but not nearly to this extreme," said Gage Mueller, a Houston resident for the past 40 years and a Houston Rockets employee who stayed overnight at the Toyota Center because it wasn't safe to go home. "It rains and it rains and it rains, and there's really nowhere for the water to go. ... It's ridiculous."

    Family separated after water shreds cabin

    The nightmare in Houston echoes that in other communities in Texas, Oklahoma and northern Mexico in recent days -- all from the same deadly, powerful, persistent storm system. And it's not over.

    In Mexico, the epicenter for this severe weather has been the border city of Ciudad Acuña, where a tornado killed 13 people. Acuña is across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, about 155 miles west of San Antonio.

    In the United States, it's been Hays County, where up to 400 homes washed away this weekend.

    The Blanco River there surged from 5½ feet to over 40 feet -- which is more than three times its flood stage -- in less than two hours, sending raging waters through communities like Wimberley.

    Storm, search continues

    The storm moved eastward, bringing rain and more danger to Louisiana and Mississippi. So that meant slightly less rain as the day wore on in Texas, though this reprieve should be short-lived; 2 to 3 more inches of rain could fall as the week wears on.

    The problem with this system isn't just the heavy rain -- this is, after all, late May along the Gulf Coast -- but that it's lingered and that it's after weeks of regular, intense precipitation.

    "The water is rising very rapidly in certain regions," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told CNN. "People need to understand the power of this water. It can wipe you away very quickly."

    Thus, the storm and the threat it poses continues. So, too, does the mourning of families like those of Alyssa Renee Ramirez, a star athlete and student council president at Devine High School who died early Sunday while driving home from her senior prom.

    "She had an infectious smile. Anytime you saw her, you couldn't help but smile, no matter what kind of mood you were in," said friend Alyssa Schmidt, who was with Ramirez at the prom. "I remember telling her to be safe and just to have fun."

  • Fast-growing Wylie now real estate hot spot in Abilene

    Published On: May 26 2015 05:04:57 PM CDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 09:00:38 PM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -

    Wylie is a hot spot right now, and all the development means more people are moving there than any where else in town.

    “Having kids, it was important to find a school that got good ratings that I knew they were going to get a good education at,” said Kerry Bender, a Wylie resident.

    “Well it's a really family oriented neighborhood,” said David Mertes, a Wylie resident.

    “We knew it was in the Wylie school district so we really wanted to be in it,” said Jenn Latshaw, a Wylie resident. “We've heard nothing but good things about it.”

    Latshaw moved to Wylie eight years ago.

    “There were maybe 30 houses out here when we got in this area, and now it's just exploded,” Latshaw said.

    Scott Senter, president of Senter Realtors, said out of about 375 homes on the market in Abilene, nearly half are in Wylie. 

    “You saw all the growth out around Wagon Wheel, Bella Vista's come in, all the additional homes in particular out on 1750 toward Potosi,” Senter said. “It's unbelievable.”

    Senter said Wylie's growth started in the early 1990s when parents got upset with AISD's redistricting plans.

    He said the main reason for the growth now is location.

    There are few other places to build in town. North Abilene is in a flood plain. Dyess Air Force Base is to the west. Abilene Regional Airport is to the east, leaving the south for expansion.

    Senter said the average price for homes selling right now in Abilene is $140,000 to $150,000. In Wylie it's about $170,000 to $180,000, and those prices are going up.

    “Our inventories have come down is what's driving prices up more than anything and low interest rates,” Senter said.

    According to school records, the Wylie school district increased by about 500 students over the last four years. That's about a 20 percent increase.

    The district bought 30 acres off Colony Hill Road. Wylie ISD Superintendent Joey Light said in the next five to six years the land could be the site of a future campus.

    "We watch it really closely,” Light said.

    Light said the number of students will continue to go up. Three new apartment complexes are scheduled to be built in Wylie that could bring hundreds more students to the district.

    “We have never had any apartment complexes in Wylie ISD, so yes, this is definitely new territory,” Light said.

    Light said handling the growth takes careful planning. Voters recently passed a $15 million bond that will pay for 20 to 25 classrooms at Wylie High and a new Performing Arts Center.

    As the school district and realtors try to keep up with demand neighbors had mixed reactions about the growth. 

    “Nobody has a crystal ball to tell us what this apartment complex is gonna look like in five to 10 years,” said Rachel Parish, a Wylie resident.

    “Of course you want your community to grow that's a good thing,” Bender said. “It's a sign things are flourishing and doing well, and you know if people are moving here because they want their children in the school district, they must be doing something right.”

    Hendrick Health System announced it’s opening a new $9.5 million medical plaza in the 5300 block of Buffalo Gap Road.

    The 38,000 square-foot building will house physician practices, as well as laboratory, radiological services and Meek Blood Center draw stations.

    The facility is on schedule to open in August.

    Taylor County tax rolls show H-E-B bought the old Lacks building at Buffalo Gap Road and Antilley.

    The grocer also bought the land next to the building.

    An HEB spokesperson said they do not currently have plans to open any new stores in the Abilene area.

    The spokesperson said sometimes H-E-B buys real estate as an initial investment but doesn't always build on the property. 

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