South Texas officials survey flood damage, some expect more

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DALLAS — Authorities in far South Texas on Friday were surveying the damage to homes, businesses and roads from flooding this week, while some areas are still bracing as runoff causes flooding.

"Our biggest issue is about to start," said Willacy County Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Torres. He added, "We're starting to see water overflowing the levees on a bunch of the drainage canals."

Torres told The Associated Press that his county is downstream from areas that got much more extensive flooding this week. "We expect an overflow throughout the entire drainage system," said Torres, adding that more than 100 homes could be in danger of flooding as the canals overflow in over the next 48 hours or so.

Flooding this week resulted in the rescue of hundreds of people by boat, vehicle and helicopter. The agencies helping with the rescues included the U.S. Border Patrol.

Hidalgo County spokeswoman Julia Sullivan says more than 850 people were rescued in their county in the cities of Weslaco, Donna, Elsa, Mercedes, McAllen, Mission and Alton because of flooding.

Officials were still working to assess the damage caused by the rains that brought more than 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain this week to some areas.

McAllen's emergency management coordinator, Kevin Pagan, told the AP on Friday, "Most of the areas of the city, the water has receded and so we're now going into those areas and assessing the damage."

He said that at least 75 to 100 homes in the city got some water inside and added that the number will likely increase.

Eighty-nine-year-old McAllen resident Jeanne Levy told the Monitor in McAllen that she initially brushed off first responders' evacuation requests on Thursday but later realized it was time to leave when her front door opened from a rush of water and debris. Levy said, "I was dumbfounded, because I'm from New Orleans. I've never seen hard rain like that in my life — not even Katrina. It was a nightmare."

Tom Hushen, the emergency management coordinator in Cameron County, on Friday told the AP that it'll take time to get a sense of how many homes and businesses flooded there.

"We have whole neighborhoods that are flooded, so it's going to be a long process to get that done," he said.

Hushen said that some areas were still flooding Friday from runoff. "Everything is running off into certain areas and its causing more flooding," Hushen said.

Hushen said they're using drones to survey flooded areas where there may be road damage. "We know that a lot of our roads are going to be damaged after this storm," he said.

www.ap.org

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Weather Alert Online: South Texas officials survey flood damage, some expect more
South Texas officials survey flood damage, some expect more
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