Heavy Storms Cause Flooding, Damage In Texas

Tuesday, June 26th 2007, 7:06 am

By: News On 6

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Heavy rains and high winds belted parts of the state early Tuesday, causing flooding, forcing street closures and damaging houses and other structures.

Three women were killed Monday when the sport utility vehicle they were in slammed into a dump truck, officials said. Weather was a factor, authorities said.

Larry Hathorn, the husband of one of the women, Debbie Picha, 52, said he was speaking to his wife by phone when the accident occurred.

``Debbie and I were talking when suddenly she said, 'Oh, my God!' four times. Then the phone went dead,'' he told the Austin American-Statesman in an article published Tuesday.

Authorities rescued a man stranded atop his minivan Monday in western Texas as raging floodwaters threatened to consume him. A woman died Sunday when a gust of wind caused the motorcycle she was a passenger on to hit a guardrail, police said. The motorcycle driver survived.

In northern Texas, a severe storm blew a home from its foundation, ripped the roof off at least one house and caused damage to two other homes, a Wise County dispatcher said. No injuries were reported. Officials closed roads in two counties to protect motorists from high waters.

The overnight storm prompted the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning for parts of northern Texas, but there had been no confirmed tornado sightings, weather service meteorologist Jessica Schultz said.

In Real County, about 80 miles northwest of San Antonio, officials were notifying campgrounds and homes along the Frio River of rising waters and possibly dangerous conditions, a county dispatcher said.

Sustained rainfall over the last month has left the ground saturated, and parts of northern, central and eastern Texas are at high risks of flash flooding, according to the state's emergency operations center.

Gov. Rick Perry has ordered search and rescue teams to be at a high state of readiness to provide rapid responses when necessary, according to a state emergency situation report. Two helicopters and 50 other state vehicles are available to rescue personnel under Perry's directive.

The severe weather shows no sign of letting up, with chances of rain and thunderstorms as high as 90 percent in some parts of Texas on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

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