More Rain Expected As Flooding Continues In Texas Near record flooding is moving across central Texas. The fast rising waters have ripped out a large bridge, and taken many residents by surprise.
NPR logo

More Rain Expected As Flooding Continues In Texas

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/658570608/658570609" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
More Rain Expected As Flooding Continues In Texas

More Rain Expected As Flooding Continues In Texas

More Rain Expected As Flooding Continues In Texas

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/658570608/658570609" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Near record flooding is moving across central Texas. The fast rising waters have ripped out a large bridge, and taken many residents by surprise.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

And to another story now in Texas where near record floodwaters are pushing through the central part of the state. The governor has declared a state of emergency in 18 counties. In Austin, officials say they may need to open more floodgates than they have ever opened before, which could protect the city - could also send more water downstream. Mose Buchele of member station KUT reports.

MOSE BUCHELE, BYLINE: Central Texas has been getting a lot of rain for weeks now. This flood actually started days ago with storms in the hill country northwest of Austin. That water fed creeks and rolled into the Llano River. By the time it got to the small community of Kingsland, Texas, Tuesday, it had turned into a surge of water strong enough to take out the main bridge into town.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Oh, my God.

BUCHELE: This is tape from Austin's KEYE-TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: We're seeing pieces of the bridge out here flipping. Leslie, if you can get a shot of that - the pieces of the bridge just flipping over.

BUCHELE: The river rose fast. It flooded homes and Kingsland, joined the Colorado River and got bigger. In Marble Falls, Jonathan Hammond watched it rush by from the banks.

JONATHAN HAMMOND: This is just crazy, absolutely crazy. We went and looked at the dam this morning. I've never seen any water like that ever.

BUCHELE: Loretta Higgins said she was rescued by her son, who carried her and her dog to safety through waist-high water.

LORETTA HIGGINS: I was in my little trailer. The next thing I know, the water rushed up to it. It was that the windows, and my car and my trailer just went.

BUCHELE: The reservoir above Austin called Lake Travis has captured more floodwater in a week than the city uses in four years. It's running out of room. If it gets much higher, it could overtop and flood hundreds of homes. So the group that manages the reservoir say they may need to open more flood gates than ever before in the coming days. Phil Wilson is general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PHIL WILSON: People need to take every precaution to protect their safety and their property.

BUCHELE: This flooding comes just weeks after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its data on Texas and warned that severe flooding is much more likely in this area than it previously thought. Climate change has a part in that, says Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service.

VICTOR MURPHY: As the atmosphere warms, it can hold more water. And when that gets wrung out, there's more moisture to wring out, therefore there's heavier rain that can fall.

BUCHELE: If officials in Austin do open more flood gates, they hope to limit flooding in the city to mostly streets and parkland. But communities downstream could see more severe impacts. They say much depends on the weather over the next few days, and rain is in the forecast. For NPR News, I'm Mose Buchele in Austin.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.