On Monday, officials in Oklahoma and Texas began to move as fast as they could to determine the severity of the destruction caused by the recent record-breaking rains. The flood has left a dozen people missing from Hays County, Texas. The San Marcos emergency coordinator, Ken Bell, reported that the 12 individuals, whose whereabouts are completely unknown, come from families who had all gathered together for the long Memorial Day weekend.
Locating the missing group, which is likely to include children, has been made to be quite challenging. As a result of the flooding, Hays County has been experiencing issues with Internet connection ability and overwhelmed mobile phone networks. Bell says that the people outside their community have more information about their current status than those inside the community.
So far, at least four known deaths have occurred due to the devastating weather. A Tulsa woman died after a hydroplaning incident that occurred while she was driving, the circumstances regarding the death of a man in Sapulpa still remain unclear, a death has been confirmed in San Marcos and the fourth was a firefighter whose life was lost getting swept up into a storm drain during a high-water rescue attempt. Even through the storms, Texas officials are doing all that can be done to find the dozen people that have gone missing, while taking the proper safety precautions in the process.
The storms have literally washed away hundreds of homes and although it would seem that the worst has already passed, because the weather is starting to let up, lives are still very much art risk. Rescuers have been using helicopters to retrieve people left stranded on the rooftops of buildings that remained standing, but with a body of water surrounding every side.
Early Monday morning, the National Weather Service reported runoff reaching its peak. With creek banks and rivers unable to hold the substantial amount of water deposited by these storms as well as the lack of signs to show some kind of rain relief approaching, the storms have posed the threat of flood continuance. A number of south-central areas in Texas, including Hays County and Austin, have issued a flash flood emergency with an expected additional three to six inches of rainfall coming with the thunderstorms headed in that direction.
Due to the ground being so highly saturated, the chances for further devastation to occur have been greatly increased. Weather forecasters are warning people to be careful because the smallest amount of new rainfall could cause serious problems. The National Weather Service said that concerns for flash flooding are high, because it only takes one or two inches of rain to fall to result in a flash flood occurrence.
With the weather threatening to cause further damage, Texas governor, Greg Abbott, has been urged to add another 24 counties to be placed under an emergency disaster declaration, which 13 counties are already under. An emergency disaster declaration allows the state to use all resources considered to be of necessary use to keep the residents of the state alive.
In a statement made by the governor, the expected weather forecast includes high winds, flash flooding, tornadoes, thunderstorms, river flooding and hail. For the people of Texas, The severe flooding caused by the state’s severe weather conditions has left the search for the missing dozen a difficult challenge, to say the least, but the pursuit to discover their location continues.
By Kameron Hadley
CNN: Texas and Oklahoma flooding: 4 dead
CBS: Hundreds of homes washed away by deadly Texas flooding
Fox: At least 3 dead, 12 missing as flash flooding sweeps through Texas, Oklahoma
Photo Courtesy of usacetulsa’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License