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Latest on flooding: Crews ready if dam near Dallas breaks

🕐 5 min read

Latest on flooding: High water hampering Texas search

The Associated Press

12:40 p.m.

Authorities in Houston have confirmed two more storm-related deaths, raising the combined Texas and Oklahoma death toll to 19 people.

Houston’s emergency operations center announced the deaths Wednesday in a news release.

Searchers are still looking for more than a dozen people in Texas who went missing during the powerful storms in recent days. The storm-related death toll in Texas stands at 15. Four people were confirmed killed in Oklahoma.

12:10 p.m.

Authorities say the catastrophic flooding in Central Texas has damaged thousands of homes and hampered efforts to locate 11 people who went missing.

Kenneth Bell, emergency management coordinator for San Marcos, said Wednesday that 744 homes in San Marcos were damaged or destroyed over the holiday weekend when the Blanco River surged to nearly 45 feet. Homes in Wimberley and other nearby communities also sustained extensive damage, as did homes in southeastern Texas, including Houston.

Bell says three people have died in the Hays County flooding, two men and one woman, and more than 100 people are involved in the search. He says the search has been made harder by tornado warnings, high water and other weather-related obstacles.

Bell says the area has been contending with regular flooding since May 4.

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11:45 a.m.

Authorities in South Texas are searching for a 73-year-old woman whose car was found in a ditch submerged in floodwater.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that Alice Tovar’s car was found Tuesday afternoon in the Rosenberg area, which is about 30 miles southwest of Houston.

She is among more than a dozen people in Texas that have gone missing since storms caused extensive flooding over the last few days.

The sheriff’s office says Tovar’s daughter went looking for her after a hearing that her mother’s car wasn’t parked at the store where she works. She found the submerged car along the route her mother takes to work, and a passing motorist used his truck to pull it from the ditch. Tovar wasn’t in the car.

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10:45 a.m.

Police say the threat of a dam southwest of Dallas breaking has passed.

Midlothian police Capt. John Spann said late Wednesday morning that water was still coming over the earthen dam at Padera Lake, near Midlothian, but that the volume had decreased. The area has experienced days of heavy rain.

Emergency personnel planned to shut down Highway 287 if the dam broke, because it could have flooded with a couple feet of water. About a dozen homes in the mostly rural area were threatened as well.

Midlothian is some 25 miles southwest of Dallas.

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9:20 a.m.

New thunderstorms are snarling traffic in the flood-weary Houston area but don’t appear to be exacerbating the problems in parts of the flood-battered city.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says the good news Wednesday is that the heavy rainfall is in a different area of the region than those most affected on Tuesday. But county officials say additional rainfall could lead to problems on bayous, creeks and rivers.

Some scattered spots on service roads along Interstate 45 north of Houston were flooded but main lanes were moving.

About 2½ inches of rain were recorded in north and northwest Harris County Wednesday with a line of storms that began just before dawn. More than double that amount has been reported in more rural counties northwest of Houston.

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9:07 a.m.

More than 100,000 gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled into floodwaters after a wastewater treatment plant in Houston flooded.

Houston’s Department of Public Works and Engineering said in a news release that the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant flooded Tuesday when a bayou overflowed its banks during extensive rains, damaging the plant’s electrical and mechanical systems.

The department says the spill has been contained and they’ve increased monitoring of the water supply systems. The department says cleanup at the plant will start once the flooding subsides.

The department says people should not swim in affected areas. It also says people are not required to boil their water, but may wish to do so.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been notified of the spill.

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7:45 a.m.

Police say emergency personnel could shut down a highway if a dam southwest of Dallas breaks.

Water was flowing over the top of the earthen dam at Padera Lake, near Midlothian, early Wednesday morning following days of heavy rain.

If the dam breaks, Highway 287 could flood with a couple of feet of water.

Midlothian police Capt. John Spann says officials will divert traffic if that happens, but for now they must “just wait and see.”

He says it’s mostly a rural area, but that residents of around a dozen homes have been warned they could be in jeopardy of flooding if the dam breaks. He says they are not in danger of being swept away and that there’s no mandatory evacuation order.

Midlothian is some 25 miles southwest of Dallas.

___

2:15 a.m.

Authorities in Texas are defending the way they handled alerting residents during the recent severe weather that left about a dozen people missing and about a dozen dead across the state.

But they are also acknowledging some challenges.

In Hays County, where a vacation home was swept away by flooding, authorities say warnings included multiple cellphone alerts and calls to landlines.

Some people also received in-person warnings to evacuate, but officials couldn’t say whether the eight people in the washed-away home talked to police.

A county commissioner says leaders will consider changes in dealing with tourists, who are harder to reach.

In Houston, where rain submerged roads and stranded motorists, warnings from the National Weather Service buzzed on cellphones. But city officials hadn’t yet installed a system that would allow them to send more targeted warnings.

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