Texas governor to visit communities engulfed by floods

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2016 1:12 PM
Texas governor to visit communities engulfed by floods

ORANGE, Texas (AP) — Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled Wednesday to tour flood-ravaged communities in Southeast Texas where swollen waterways have displaced thousands of people and floodwaters are forecast to rise yet more.

Joe Mires, spokesman for the Orange County emergency management office, said the Sabine (suh-BEEN') River could rise by another 6 inches near Interstate 10 along the Louisiana border.

The Sabine's flood stage is 4 feet and the National Weather Service said it was cresting Wednesday at 7.5 feet. Mires said the river should recede later in the day, but that forecasts for rain on Friday or Saturday could complicate relief efforts.

The floods have forced thousands of people from their homes in a region that was slammed by 20 inches of rain over four days last week, including hundreds who have evacuated their homes in the town of Orange, about 100 miles east of Houston. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

The American Red Cross said encroaching floodwaters in Orange forced the closure of two shelters and that people are being sent to another shelter opened at Lamar University in Beaumont, where about 200 people stayed Tuesday night.

Emergency personnel went door-to-door in Orange on Tuesday, encouraging residents to leave. But Richard Cook told the Beaumont Enterprise he planned to wait out the flood on the second floor of his two-story home. The 77-year-old said this is the highest he's seen the water since 1954.

"I'm a little concerned, but many of these things can be replaced," Cook said. "We're just trying to protect life and limb."

The flooding has led to intermittent closures of I-10, one of the country's major transportation arteries. More than 48,000 vehicles travel that portion of the interstate each day, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.