NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — Rain deluged the Texas Hill Country again Monday, washing away cattle fences and hampering the search for three children carried off by flood waters. At least 14 people have died in Texas storms since the weekend.
National Guardsmen had hoped to search by helicopter for a missing 6-year-old boy, and Gov. George W. Bush had scheduled a flight to survey damage in San Antonio. Both flights were canceled because of severe weather.
Sixty counties--nearly a fourth of Texas--have experienced flooding, said Tom Millwee, state coordinator of the division of emergency management.
Bush said the state will assess damage as soon as possible to apply for federal aid.
Thousands of animals were set loose by a rain-swollen San Marcos River that wrecked pens, barns and hundreds of miles of fences.
Cattle had been moved to high ground, but the ground just wasn't high enough.
Caldwell County Extension Agent Lytle Arche estimated as many as 5,000 cattle could be roaming in his county. He expects at least 10,000 more to wander from their pastures in neighboring Guadalupe and Gonzales counties.
The counties lie along the Guadalupe River, just east of flood-ravaged San Antonio and New Braunfels. The river is usually about 150 feet across. On Monday, it was three miles wide in places.
New Braunfels suffered some of the worst damage when the normally tranquil Guadalupe River rushed over its banks, flooding neighborhoods and sending 1,400 people to shelters for the night.
The severe weather was blamed on the collision of a cold front coming down from the north and extremely humid air pouring off Hurricanes Madeline and Lester in the Pacific off the west coast of Mexico.
San Antonio got 20 inches of rain. "This is a first in our history, to have that much rain in a 24-hour period," said Joe Candelario, the city's emergency management coordinator.
Searchers in Caldwell County looked for an 11-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy who were in a vehicle that was washed off a road.