Many Remain Flooded Out After Heavy Rains Destroy Homes, Force Evacuations in Texas

Flooding forced dozens of people from their homes Monday, including some residents who have been living in government trailers since Hurricane Rita struck southeast Texas last year.

Heavy rains saturated the area last week and flowed downstream into the Neches River, which spilled over its banks and rose nearly 8 feet above flood stage Monday.

Although the river later dropped by about 2 inches, the water was expected to remain high through Thursday, said Jeff Kelley, emergency management coordinator for Orange County, about 100 miles northeast of Houston.

Kelley estimated about 40 homes had been destroyed as of Sunday. About 60 others were damaged, officials said.

Authorities in neighboring Hardin County estimated at least 100 homes had been damaged.

The Sabine River also was out of its banks. Officials in Newton County officials said at least three bridges have been washed out.

Officials continued assessing damage Monday. It varied from home to home because some had been built on stilts, while others sit at ground level. In some cases, water was up to the roof lines.

The area was hit hard by Rita last year, and Kelley said a number of Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers were still in the area.

Gov. Rick Perry declared nine counties disaster areas. He also ordered state agencies to be on standby for rescue efforts if the remnants of Hurricane Paul bring more rain in the coming days. Paul was roaring toward the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula late Monday.