Flood Crests in Indiana; 200 Evacuated In Texas
Undated (AP) _ The flooded White River crested overnight in Muncie, Ind., leaving behind $200,000 in damage, and about 200 people in waterlogged Texas left their homes as more thunderstorms soaked the Eastern half of the nation.
The weather was blamed for two deaths Wednesday in Texas, which has been plagued by thunderstorms for nearly two weeks. In Georgia, lightning killed a construction worker and injured 10 soldiers at Fort Benning.
This morning, Texas thunderstorms dumped 6 1/2 inches of rain at Hockheim, 5 inches at Hallettsville and 3.8 inches at Shiner, where 50 people were evacuated from low-lying areas overnight. All roads around Westlake Hills were closed temporarily after 2 inches of rain fell in two hours.
Thunderstorms and rainshowers today extended from New England, the Virginia coast and the Carolinas across the Gulf states and the Great Lakes and into central Texas.
In Indiana, the White River crested in Muncie on Wednesday night at 11.9 feet, the highest level in 24 years. It was expected to fall below flood stage of 9 feet tonight. Damage in Muncie was estimated at $200,000.
Volunteers worked for more than five hours Wednesday night building sandbag dikes around Muncie’s sanitary sewer plant and in several sections of the city where rising water threatened homes and churches.
Police Sgt. Jack Finchum said about 15 roads on the east side of the river were closed. ″We saw water coming through a drainage pipe, and then it just started creeping up the block,″ said Sabrie Stout, who lives along the river.
An 18-year-old construction worker in Augusta, Ga., was killed during a thunderstorm Wednesday when lightning struck a stake in the ground. Ten Fort Benning soldiers were reported in stable condition with electrical burns suffered when lightning struck a tree as they passed by.
Hailstones nearly the size of golf balls were reported in the south Atlanta Wednesday. Statewide, more than 20,000 people lost power in the storm.
In Texas, about 150 people fled their homes because of flooding along the Ceco Creek in D’Hanis spent the night at a National Guard armory in Hondo, said Donna Keiner, a Medina County Sheriff’s dispatcher.
″This rain is getting to be a little more than necessary,″ said M.R. LeStourgen, who lives near the Medina River northwest of San Antonio. He said he measured 9 inches of rain in 6 hours Wednesday.
Five more inches were possible today near San Antonio, said Larry Eblen, a National Weather Service forecaster. ″That’s what has us so concerned. We don’t feel the situation is over yet.″
A pedestrian was killed on a rain-slick street in San Antonio, and a woman was killed when her car was washed into a drainage ditch and carried about 100 yards, police said.
In Indiana, about 300 residents driven from their homes in Winchester by waist-deep water late Tuesday began returning home Wednesday.
″The mud and sludge is so bad that you don’t want to go back into it,″ said Winchester (Ind.) News-Gazette assistant editor Janet Fuller. ″I’ve lived here 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s a sad feeling.″
Four bridges in the area were washed out, another was declared unsafe and three other bridges were closed because of high water, authorities said. Water was still 5 to 6 feet deep in some sections downtown Wednesday, officials said.
″It’s going down pretty slow,″ said Police Chief Don Hesser. ″We got tons and tons of stuff on the road.″