Deadly flooding has killed at least two women in Texas after being swept away by waters from heavy rains that deluged numerous roads in San Antonio.
The downpours forced more than 235 rescues by emergency workers who aided stranded motorists and homeowners at times using inflatable boats.
At least one teenage boy also was reported missing after Saturday’s torrential rains, carried away while trying to cross the swollen Cibolo Creek in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz, authorities said.
At the height of Saturday’s torrential downpours, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro urged residents not to drive as a flash flood warning covered nearly two dozen counties. Nearly 10 inches of rainfall was reported in a matter of hours Saturday at the city’s airport.
The National Weather Service said the flash flood threat would persist until late Sunday morning though mostly cloudy weather with occasional thunderstorms and showers was expected to give way to partly sunny skies later in the day.
The rains left more than 200 residents of the Texas city stranded in cars and homes when water rose unexpectedly up to 4 feet in some spots. Traffic also was snarled, making driving difficult.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Gera Hinojosa, a valet parking cars downtown after the storm. “It was pretty unexpected. We hardly got any warning about it.”
One woman became trapped in her car and climbed to the roof before being swept away in floodwaters, said San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove. Her body was later found against a fence, he said.
Emergency officials also recovered the body of a woman in her 60s who was swept away in her car while firefighters were trying to rescue her.
Authorities did not immediately identify the women.
At nightfall, water still was pooling in many ditches and underpasses. Several roadways were closed, including a major highway linking the suburbs and the city.
But even in low-lying neighborhoods along Commerce Street east of downtown San Antonio — a faded stretch of clapboard houses and beauty parlors — yards were clear. In the tourist district around the River Walk, the streets were thick with weekend holiday revelers.
While the water in some homes rose 4 feet high, according to Bove, most residents experienced the floods primarily as a major traffic hassle.
Karen Herring, 50, who spent the day volunteering at a fitness contest at the AT&T Center, said participants complained of three-hour drives across town.