The Latest: Governor declares disaster in 18 Texas counties
LLANO, Texas (AP) — The Latest on flooding in Texas (all times local):
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in 18 flood-stricken counties in Central and South Texas.
Tuesday’s declaration lifts state restrictions and regulations on any state response to the emergency.
In his proclamation, Abbott notes that severe weather and prolonged flooding that began Oct. 7 “has caused widespread and severe property damage and threatens loss of life.”
The counties covered by the declaration are Bastrop, Burnet, Colorado, Fayette, Hood, Jim Wells, Kerr, Kimble, La Salle, Live Oak, Llano, Mason, McMullen, Nueces, Real (ray-AL’), San Patricio, Travis and Williamson.
Officials say a body has been found in a rain-swollen lake amid widespread flooding in Central Texas.
Burnet (BUR’-neht) County Sheriff’s Capt. Tom Dillard says the body was found shortly before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday near the eastern shore of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson. The body hasn’t been identified.
The lake is situated where the Llano (LA’-noh) and Colorado rivers meet. The National Weather Service says both rivers are experiencing “major flooding” following several days of rain.
Many homes and other buildings along the rivers and lake are flooded, as are roads and bridges.
Dillard says there haven’t been other reports of deaths or injuries in the county. He also says the body found Tuesday doesn’t appear to be that of a person still missing from a flash flood last week in an RV park along the South Llano River, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) upstream.
Fire officials in Austin have temporarily banned all boating along the city’s waterways as heavy rain and flooding create dangerous conditions.
Authorities said in a statement Tuesday that the ban will last until Thursday, which is when rainfall in the region is forecast to finally subside.
They say navigating the waters is unsafe because of high water levels and the amount of debris that’s being carried by the fast-moving water.
The ban includes Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, a portion of the Colorado River and all creeks. Attempting to drive a vehicle through a barricaded low-water crossing also is forbidden.
Texas Parks and Wildlife says state game wardens have already conducted several air and water rescues along the Llano River. Several other agencies have conducted their own rescues along the Llano and other rivers in the state.
Raging floodwaters have destroyed a bridge over a river in Central Texas.
Video shows the bloated Llano River overrunning a bridge in Kingsland, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Austin.
The National Weather Service says the river at nearby Llano is expected to crest Tuesday morning at near-record levels near 41 feet (12.5 meters), which is 18 feet (5.5 meters) above major flood stage.
A flash flood warning is in effect, and forecasters describe it as a “very dangerous situation.”
It’s not expected to drop below major flood stage until Wednesday.
Four people were washed away last week when the South Llano River, which becomes the Llano River downstream, overran an RV park in Junction, Texas. Three bodies have been recovered.
Heavy rains have swollen Central Texas rivers, sending water over bridges, threatening riverside structures and prompting recommendations for area residents to evacuate.
The National Weather Service says “major flooding” is occurring along the Llano River and the nearby Colorado River on Tuesday. Evacuations are underway in the cities of Kingsland and Marble Falls, both northwest of Austin.
Water on the Llano is cresting at nearly 40 feet (12 meters), just shy of the record of 41.5 feet.
In addition to the evacuations, several school districts closed for the day and emergency personnel blocked access to more than 150 low-water crossings.
Fast-moving water slammed against bridges , causing at least one to crumble under the flow.
The rain also was causing problems in other parts of Texas. The Fort Worth Fire Department, for instance, said it had responded Tuesday morning to some 80 traffic accidents relating to slick roads and poor visibility.
Forecasters are telling people along the Llano River in Central Texas to seek higher ground after more than 10 inches of rain fell in the past day and a half.
The National Weather Service says the river at Llano, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Austin, is expected to crest Tuesday morning at near-record levels. A flash flood warning is in effect, and forecasters describe it as a “very dangerous situation.”
The river was expected to crest at near 41 feet (12.5 meters), which is 18 feet (5.5 meters) above major flood stage. It’s not expected to drop below major flood stage until Wednesday.
Last week, four people were swept away in floodwaters along the South Llano River in Junction. The bodies of three were recovered and one person remains missing.