Floods

Severe storms ground flights in Texas, force evacuations

Powerful storms hit the Longhorn State

 

A powerful line of storms across Central and South Texas grounded flights, forced evacuations, and even tossed a recreational vehicle onto the roof of a hotel.

Photos from Floresville show parts of the RV strewn on the roof. Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes said minor injuries were reported in the area, southeast of San Antonio.

Ruth Veliz, whose parents own a taco shop in Floresville, said about a dozen customers and employees were there at 6 a.m. when a suspected tornado hit.

She said one of the employees yelled "Tornado!," and ran to the door to try keeping the wind from carrying it off. But a customer pulled the employee aside so that she wouldn't be pulled away by the wind herself.

"The door was flying open with her as she was trying to close it," Veliz said.

Those in the restaurant took shelter anywhere they could find it, including under tables, she said. "We were all caught off guard, everyone just grabbed on to what they could get their hands on," she said.

The winds ultimately ripped the door off the building and damaged windows, but no one inside was injured, Veliz said.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport closed its airfield and was in the process of reopening it Friday afternoon.

The Blanco River in Wimberley swelled to about 26 feet, well above its 13-foot flood stage. Residents were evacuated from the area and a community center was opened to shelter people.

There were no deaths reported from Friday's storm as emergency personnel across South and Central Texas rushed to close roadways overwhelmed by water and respond to high-water rescues.

Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were reported in some places and a tornado watch was in effect for Austin, San Antonio and other areas.

"Based on what we've seen so far this storm has caused severe damage in the area," Reyes said.

Flooding caused Interstate 35 to close between Austin and San Antonio, with motorists in southbound lanes being forced to turn around and drive on the shoulder against traffic to escape the area.

Guadalupe County sheriff's Capt. Tom Meeley said some houses and buildings between Seguin and Zorn lost their roofs.

Several buildings were damaged in downtown D'Hanis, a Medina County town of about 750 located 40 miles west of San Antonio.

Several students and adults were rescued when their school bus became stranded in high water near San Antonio.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.