Flooding in Texas spurs evacuations, closings

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Storms partly fueled by Hurricane Karl finally began weakening along the Texas coast on Tuesday after dumping more than 10 inches of rain, and authorities found the body of driver who had been swept away by floods.

Widespread flooding closed schools and forced families into shelters, but forecasters said the lingering showers shouldn't be as severe. "The worst is over," National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Grantham said.

Corpus Christi police found the body of Kelechi Kinsley Nwogu, 36, who authorities said had dialed 911 on Monday after driving into Oso Creek, which had swelled to record levels after three days of relentless rain. The call got dropped before the driver was found.

The National Weather Service is calling it a 50-year flood on Oso Creek. Exact figures could not immediately be determined because a river-level gauge installed in 1972 stopped working Sunday after the river reached 28.2 feet, about 8 feet past the flood stage.

"We have an assumption that the creek crested at about 31 feet, which would be a historic event, but we aren't sure yet," said meteorologist Roger Gass. "It does appear to be receding."

Drenching storms that began Saturday caused problems up and down the Texas coast. Pressure from heavy rains on an aging sewer system in Corpus Christi led to more than 100,000 gallons of raw sewage overflowing from a manhole, while emergency teams went door to door in some neighborhoods near the Mexico border that were under 2 to 3 feet of water.

A shelter in a school gymnasium served several dozen people from a subdivision who had water up to 3 feet deep in their homes, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported Tuesday.

"The water has nowhere to go but run off as soils are saturated and creeks are full," the weather service said.

Earlier this month, flooding caused by remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine killed at least eight people, including seven in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday requested a disaster declaration for 13 counties hit hardest by Hermine, saying the storm caused more than $2.9 million in damage.