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3 Die as Storm Rakes Central Texas

November 16, 2001|Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — Storms packing heavy rain and tornadoes swept through Central Texas on Thursday and were blamed for the deaths of at least three people whose vehicles were swept from roads by flood waters.

About 15,000 homes lost power in Austin, rains flooded businesses in a downtown area and cars were left strewn about as waters receded. Portions of Interstate 35 near Buda were backed up after an 18-wheeler overturned. Street flooding also was reported in San Antonio.

An Austin man died when his vehicle stalled at a flooded crossing and he attempted to get out, said Kenneth Neafcy, spokesman for the city's Office of Emergency Management.

The body of a 32-year-old pregnant Amarillo woman was found more than four hours after the car she was riding in was swept off a state highway near Rocksprings, about 90 miles northwest of San Antonio, Edwards County Sheriff Don Letsinger said. The woman's father was rescued.

A pickup truck with two men in it was later washed off the road at the same spot, just south of Rocksprings, Letsinger said.

"We fished them out of the trees. They're OK," he said.

In Blanco, about 40 miles north of San Antonio, a 64-year-old man drowned after he tried to cross a flooded low-water crossing on a county road in his pickup. Two others in the truck were rescued by residents, the Blanco County Sheriff's Office said.

In Real County, a group of people was stranded by high water, Letsinger said.

"Those people could be in danger," Letsinger said. "We don't have any way to get to them by land. We're in contact with those people and will have to take them food and water."

Eight inches of rain fell in Edwards County, where the state Department of Transportation shut down all roads, he said.

The storm spawned several tornadoes as it moved through the Hill Country, officials said.

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