HOUSTON, Texas — (DMN) – Soaking rain is causing flooding issues this afternoon across Southern and Southeast Texas. A strong thunderstorm pelted San Antonio during this morning’s rush hour, dumping more than 2 inches of rain in some areas. Forecaster Mark Lenzsaid about 2.29 inches of rain had fallen at San Antonio International Airportas of 9 a.m. He said the region likely will see scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the day, possibly with more bouts of heavy rain.
Streets quickly filled with water as the storm moved south across the city, bringing traffic to a near-standstill in places. One motorist crawling south on U.S. 281 north of downtown said by cellphone that the rainfall was “like a hurricane.” The lower level of Interstate 35 downtown was closed this morning because of high water. Firefighters responded to 21 high-water calls this morning, though only one person had to be rescued — a man who became stranded in the San Antonio River on the South Side.
Santos Oliva, 26, said he had been walking down the river’s embankment under Roosevelt Avenue near Riverside Drive when the water began to rise about 8 a.m., leaving him about 50 feet from solid ground. “It was real cold and it came up really quick,” Oliva said, shivering. In the half-hour he was trapped on a pillar, the water rose to his waist, he said. It took 16 emergency responders to save him, with crews using a raft to pull him to safety.
Fire Capt. Roger Santossaid the man would not be fined because he had not disregarded any high-water crossing signs. Oliva was uninjured. “I’m glad they saved me,” Oliva said. “I thought I was going to die.” Police responded to eight crashes considered major and 25 minor wrecks from midnight to about 8:45 a.m. On a typical day, there normally are about five major wrecks and 125 minor ones. Meanwhile, storms knocked out power for thousands of San Antonians. Around 9:40 a.m., about 5,000 customers were in the dark, CPS Energy spokeswoman Yvonne Casanovasaid. An hour later, outages throughout the city numbered 3,044, she said. “We are doing our best to safely get power back on,” she said.
Heavy thunderstorms moved through the Houston area Wednesday morning, prompting multiple watches and warnings. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Jackson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller, Washington and Wharton counties until 7 p.m.. A Flash Flood Warning southwest of Houston has been extended to 4pm. It includes all of Brazoria, Jackson, Matagorda, and Wharton counties. The National Weather Service says 3-10 inches of rain has fallen in this area.
There is a stalled frontal boundary and a tremendous amount of moisture will continue to keep heavy rain chances in the forecast until at least noon. Temperature-wise, thanks to the rain lows kicked off in the lower-70s and highs are expected to stay below 90 degrees. The extended forecast shows a 50-percent chance for rain remains in the forecast Thursday, and a 40-percent chance Friday through Sunday.