Houston area gets up to 10 inches of rain, flooding closes roads, schools, 3 people found dead

Monday, October 16th 2006, 11:31 am

By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ Torrential rains and a tornado swept through Southeast Texas, killing three people trapped in the rising floodwater, destroying homes and shutting down numerous schools Monday.

Two women were found dead in a sport utility vehicle in floodwaters at least 8 feet deep in Houston. Another body was discovered in submerged vehicle in Fort Bend County, on the southwest side of Houston.

As much as 10 inches of rain fell in the Houston-Galveston area overnight.

More rain was expected across Texas on Monday, although floodwaters were receding in parts of the Houston area by late morning.

Parts of Interstates 10 and 45 were shut down around Houston, and the University of Houston and several other schools were closed. Twenty bayous overflowed their banks, but county officials said no evacuations were ordered. Some delays were reported at both of Houston's major airports.

A tornado struck east of Houston near the Jefferson County town of China, not far from the Louisiana line, said emergency management spokeswoman Darlene Koch. The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado, and Koch said five mobile homes and two houses were destroyed. No injuries were reported.

In the Texas Coastal Bend, as many as 20 homes were damaged as a suspected tornado roared through the small Lavaca Bay community of Magnolia Beach before daybreak Monday, Calhoun County Sheriff B.B. Browning said. The only injury reported in the small community 75 miles northeast of Corpus Christi was a cut thumb a man suffered from flying glass, he said.

Parts of North and West Texas got as much as 4 inches of rain overnight, prompting flash flood warnings. National Weather Service meteorologist Stacie Hanes said the rain in North Texas was expected to dissipate by evening.

In Louisiana, three people were hurt early Monday when strong winds blew through the fishing community of Leeville, 90 miles south of New Orleans, authorities said.

An elderly couple was rescued from an overturned trailer. The woman suffered a broken arm, while her husband was treated for bruises and lacerations, said Larry Weidel, a spokesman for the Lafourche Parish sheriff. Another person was treated for a knee injury, he said. The storm sank at least two boats, as well.

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