The storm that set the stage for several Halloween tragedies in Central Texas and throughout several southern states is now barreling toward the eastern part of the United States. In the area around Austin Texas two people are known to have lost their lives in flood waters, and a young boy in Tennessee was killed in Nashville Tennessee by a downed power line.
Flooding had already impacted Austin, Texas during ACL Fest on October 13th, so many believed they were prepared and knew what to expect as meteorologists and news stations warned of the approaching storms. Still, the flooding was much worse than most anticipated, and many residents were left trapped on roads, and in homes. According to a spokesman for the Austin Fire Department some were forced to saw or cut through the roofs of their homes in order to escape flood waters.
Years long drought conditions in Central Texas possible worsened the effect of the torrential rain as the run off rushed over hardened ground and sweep into the lowest level points possible. According to the National Weather Service more than food of rain fell across Central Texas with the area in around the city of Wimberley seeing up to 14 inches of rain falling during the night of October 30th and into the morning hours of October 31st.
Emergency crews in Austin area reportedly responded to more than 100 rescue calls many of which required life rafts and boats to move stranded residents from roofs, the tops of cars, or trees.
In Austin, Onion Creek overflowed trapping several residents, neighbors attempting to reach them were likewise overtaken and clung to trees while awaiting rescue. Austin Fire evacuated several neighborhoods rescuing residents as well as pets in the process. Several horses trapped in areas that unexpectedly flooded were swept away.
A woman and child from the Onion Creek have been reported missing, but it’s unknown at this time if their disappearance is related to the flooding. Two individuals in the Austin area were confirmed dead by Thursday afternoon as the waters receded in some areas and their bodies were located. In both cases the cause of death was drowning.
As the storm system moves out to the rest of the country Central Texas spent Halloween in a massive cleanup still concerned as rivers continued to rise in some areas from runoff. Neither the rains from the 13th or 31st will impact the drought as the bulk of the rain fell below the dam and where it will not be collected. Instead the water from the flooding will course down through to Texas’ rivers, which flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
Throughout the rest of the south the storm system continued with damaging winds, and threats of tornadoes. In Arkansas trees, power lines and poles were knocked down creating dangerous situations, and leaving many residents without power. In Caraway Arkansas five children out trick or treating were missing for several hours, but were found safe.