May 2015 – TEXAS – A third body was found near the Blanco River in Texas Tuesday, bringing the death toll in that state and in Oklahoma to at least 19 after weekend storms dumped rain on the region and caused devastating floods. Fourteen people are missing in Texas, including eight members of two families that were staying in a vacation home that was swept away by a tsunami-like “wall of water” that roared down the Blanco River in Wimberley over the weekend following a wave of torrential rain, Hays County Commissioner Will Conley said. The National Weather Service said that more rain could be on the way for hard-hit parts of Texas, with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for the Houston area through 1 a.m. Wednesday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the communities that have been affected by some of these devastating, record-breaking floods,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday. Obama pledged federal assistance to the region. Search-and-rescue operations were continuing, on land and from air, across a landscape where centuries-old trees had been ripped away by the 44-foot storm surge. “It looks like a savannah,” Conley said. At least 12 people died in Texas, authorities said, including a 14-year-old boy in Desoto who was found in a storm drain, and Alyssa Ramirez, an 18-year-old homecoming queen whose car was swept off the road as she returned home from prom in Devine on Sunday, authorities said.
Four of the deaths in Texas were in Houston, the city’s government said in a statement. One of the dead is believed to have been one of three people who are missing after being swept away when a boat capsized during a rescue effort, but that had not been confirmed by Tuesday night. By Tuesday afternoon three bodies have been found near the Blanco River in Hays and nearby Caldwell counties, which flooded over the weekend and swept away the home. Authorities said identification is pending, and described them as two men and one woman. The missing in Hays County range from 4 to 81 years old, and were last seen in the area of the Blanco River, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office said. Earlier Tuesday 13 people were reported missing in Hays County, but two of those were found safe, bringing the number down to 11, authorities said.
There have been seven weather-related deaths in Oklahoma since Friday, including a Claremore firefighter who died during a water rescue, and a 33-year-old woman who died in a storm-related traffic crash in Tulsa. A 48-year-old woman in Oklahoma was killed Monday after a tornado struck Bryan County, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said. –NBC News