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Ref2: Texas and Oklahoma communities hit by torrential rains

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Deluge pummels S.A.


Web Posted: 06/29/2007 01:31 AM CDT

Don Finley and Vianna Davila
Express-News
A saturated San Antonio — pounded by more than 3 inches of rain Thursday — braced for more thunderstorms and possible flooding today.
An upper-level area of low pressure, fed by moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, stubbornly remained in place as it has for days, triggering round after round of showers and thunderstorms.

"The atmosphere is very moist to a fairly deep depth. So there's a lot of moisture to play with, and it's just enough to stir things up and create big thunderstorms," said Bob Fogarty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in New Braunfels. "They're not moving terribly quickly when they do form."

The forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms today, with highs in the mid-80s.

A flash flood warning was in effect into the afternoon. And the odds of more rain were predicted to remain at least 40 percent each day through Tuesday, falling to 30 percent on Independence Day.


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After more than a week of wet weather — except for a trace on Saturday, San Antonio has recorded measurable rainfall each day since June 20 — Thursday's heavy rains quickly flooded low-lying areas across town.

City officials reported 74 road closures Thursday — most of those on the North and Northwest Sides. Another 26 county roads were closed by mid-afternoon.

Despite the number of impassable roads, few life-threatening incidents were reported. Of 43 high-water rescue calls the San Antonio Fire Department received, only one person actually had to be rescued, said Sandy Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the San Antonio Police Department.

As of 5:30 p.m., the official rain gauge at San Antonio International Airport measured a record 3.07 inches of rain. Some parts of northern Bexar County reported up to 5 inches, the weather service reported.

Water rose so quickly in areas near Nakoma Road and West Avenue that day care programs at Coker United Methodist Church were shut down around noon. Teachers called parents and asked them to pick up their children as soon as possible.

The church sits in a low area between West Avenue and U.S. 281, just north of Nakoma. At one point, firefighters helped push a car off the road when it apparently stalled after going through the water at that intersection.

Afternoon classes and programs also were canceled at all University of Texas at San Antonio campuses, according to Tim Brownlee, assistant director of public affairs. University offices will remain open with a "skeleton crew," he said.

He was unsure if classes would continue today, and advised students and staff to consult the university's Web site or call (210) 458-7669.

Around 12:30 p.m., about 2,100 CPS Energy customers lost power for almost an hour in the area along Broadway from the eastern edge of downtown to the Witte Museum, and also east of the Alamodome, CPS spokesman Bob McCullough said. Officials believe moisture got into equipment at one of its power substations, causing the outage.

The rain didn't appear to slow tourists — but it did change their plans from outdoor attractions to indoor spots like the San Antonio Children's Museum downtown.

On a normal Thursday, the museum lures about 400 people, but at about 3 p.m. Thursday the museum swelled with 710 visitors — with another two more hours to go before closing, said its marketing director Claudia Langford.

San Antonians looking forward to barbecues had to regroup, with some trying to book last minute parties at America's Incredible Pizza Co., on the North Side, said Noel Anderson, the restaurant's events coordinator.

She said a group of 40 called at the last minute to reserve space because their barbecue outing got rained out. Just before 5 p.m., the restaurant was packed with nearly 300 people. Normally, it sees half the amount on a Thursday night.

Portions © 2007 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News.
All rights reserved.

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