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Texas, Arkansas Hit by Floods, Twisters for 2nd Day; Two Dead

April 06, 1986|From United Press International

Vicious thunderstorms Saturday unleashed downpours, hail and tornadoes across Texas and Arkansas, causing derailment of a freight train and covering roads with up to six feet of water that killed at least two motorists.

Stalled cars littered flooded roads in Texas, after as much as six inches of rain, blown by 60-m.p.h. wind gusts, fell for the second day.

"It's bad," said Caroline Beverly, the Smith County sheriff's dispatcher. "I'm getting reports of bridges under water in all areas of Smith County."

Floodwaters invaded at least a dozen buildings in Tyler, Tex., on Saturday. The Tyler Independent School District office had two inches of water in the basement.

"Right now they're going around trying to get water out of buildings," said Maryann Stanley, a police dispatcher. "Some have five feet in them, some three feet. Cars have been swept down streets from where they were parked."

Severe thunderstorm have battered Texas, Arkansas and Missouri with heavy rain, hail and tornadoes for two days. Malikoff, Tex., had six inches of rain and Murfeesboro, Ark., had 5 1/2, the National Weather Service said.

In Henderson County, just east of Tyler, flooding closed most roads to Athens, the county seat. Elmaree Wallace, a cook at a Salvation Army retirement home in Tyler, drowned across the street from the home when floodwaters overturned her car, her supervisor, Alice Johnson, said.

Water three feet deep washed through the home's first floor and the basement was full, but none of its 70 residents were harmed, Johnson said.

A Dallas woman drowned Saturday afternoon when she lost control of her car, which was swept into a lake.

Floodwaters washed out a section of track in Hunt County, derailing three engines and eight cars of a 98-car Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad train on Saturday. No one was injured.

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