AUSTIN – Heavy rains that had drenched soggy Central Texas cleared Wednesday afternoon, but not before leaving parts of the region flooded.
"Everything that can flood is flooding," Travis County Sheriff's spokesman Roger Wade. "We've got people out patrolling to try to help anybody we can at the low-water crossings."
Many areas around Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country received from 5 to 8 inches of rain from Sunday through Wednesday morning, with rain continuing to fall, said meteorologist Pat McDonald of the National Weather Service (search) office in New Braunfels. The rain stopped in Austin by mid-afternoon.
The weather was a factor in the death of a woman in San Antonio Tuesday evening when she was swept away by fast-moving floodwaters while trying to walk through a low-water crossing. The woman had tried to get out of the water but was then swept away, said Officer Joe Rios of the San Antonio Police Department.
Crews in Hays County on Wednesday delayed their search of the Blanco River (search) between San Marcos and Kyle for Laurie Pineda, 24, who has been missing since Sunday. The car she had been driving was swept from a low-water crossing over the river while she was trying to cross it. Pineda's male passenger was rescued.
The river had risen 11 feet in two hours before the incident because of heavy rain. Hays County Sheriff's deputy Leroy Opiela said the river was running as fast Wednesday as it was when Pineda disappeared.
Officials reported other rescues in Central Texas after motorists drove into low-water crossings. Opiela said his office has issued an arrest warrant for a man who drove around barricades Wednesday and then had to be rescued from the flooding Blanco River.
The Lower Colorado River Authority (search) said it had opened or planned to open floodgates at several dams along the Highland Lakes to move the floodwaters as quickly and safely as possible to Lake Travis, which had risen four feet into its flood pool.
LCRA also closed off areas of several lakes as the floodwaters continued to pour into the lakes system. Some people along Lake Travis were packing up their belongings in case of flooding, Wade said.
Several tornados were reported in the region Tuesday, including in Austin, San Antonio and Gillespie County. High winds and suspected tornadoes also were reported Wednesday from the La Porte area to the Highlands.
The severe weather forced some schools to either close or open late Wednesday.
Monte Oaks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said Central Texas should be dry Thursday but there could be some drizzle Friday.