STORMS begin subsiding in South, but states still feeling aftermath of Allison - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

STORMS begin subsiding in South, but states still feeling aftermath of Allison


One week after Tropical Storm Allison first rumbled onto the Texas and Louisiana coasts, states across the South are dealing with traces of the storm that left a deadly path of destruction in its wake.

Florida suffered the brunt of the storm's wrath Tuesday as drenching rains, powerful wind and tornadoes hit the state. The storm has been blamed for nine deaths in Florida _ four of them since Monday. The five others drowned last week off the Florida Panhandle in choppy waters caused by Allison.

In Texas and Louisiana, at least 21 deaths have been blamed on the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

``It's about as bad as it's been in several years,'' said Jeff Fournier, a National Weather Service forecaster in Florida.

Residents continued to clean up and tally the damage in Houston, where nearly 3 feet of rain in parts of the city turned freeways into rivers and subdivisions into lakes. Early estimates peg the damage in the nation's fourth-largest city at $1 billion.

Researchers at the Texas Medical Center lost up to 35,000 laboratory animals in the flooding. The losses included 30,000 mice, some of which had been specially bred over a period of years to meet scientific needs.

Researchers seeking treatments for ailments ranging from organ failure to autism face spending five to 10 years trying to reproduce such mice, said Dr. Christopher Smith, head veterinarian with the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center.

``We have long-term behavior studies that had been going for years,'' Smith said. ``Students no longer have their theses. Scientists have been put back I don't know how many years.''

As cleanup from the rains entered a third full day, workers in downtown Houston continued to pump water from flooded basements and parking garages and residents piled stacks of ruined belongings outside their homes.

Some had to chase scavengers and looters away.

``I'm right here and people are taking my stuff in front of my nose,'' Mary Guillory said Tuesday. ``And in the middle of all my pain it's just been horrible!''

The rains also left their mark on Houston's cultural center. Instruments were floating in chest-deep water at the Houston Symphony. Across the street, two theaters suffered serious damage, including a broken electrical system and soaked dressing rooms and costumes.

In Florida, a Tallahassee man died Tuesday after his car was swept away on streets flooded by nearly 10 inches of rain. His body was found nearly two miles away from where the car was swept into a ditch.

A Jacksonville man was killed Monday when a tree fell on his house, and two died in a weather-related wreck near in the western Panhandle.

Six tornadoes were reported during the storm in Madison County, east of Tallahassee. About 109 homes in Leon County were flooded as Tallahassee received record rainfall _ more than 10 inches between 8 p.m. Monday and 8 p.m. Tuesday.

One of the twisters destroyed three mobile homes east of Tallahassee; one person suffered minor injuries.

About 40 Tallahassee homes were flooded and a number of city streets remained closed Tuesday. Strong winds collapsed a three-story home under construction Monday west of Pensacola.

``We heard a crash and a boom,'' said neighbor Bruce Hoffman. ``It sounded like a car wreck.''

In South Carolina, the remnants of Allison spun off a series of tornadoes, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

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