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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster for two dozen Texas counties in the wake of torrential flooding.
“You cannot candy coat it. It’s absolutely massive,” Abbott said.
The floodwaters have left at least 17 dead — including graduating high school senior, homecoming queen and star athlete Alyssa Ramirez — in Oklahoma and Texas. According to the Associated Press, more than a dozen people are still missing, including a group who were staying in a vacation rental that the overflowing Blanco River swept away in the tourist town of Wimberly, located between Austin and San Antonio.
The San Marcos River flows into the Blanco River. Video of flooding by Armando Espinoza via Facebook.
The storms have extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Plains and Midwest. Across the Texas-Mexico border in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, a tornado killed 13 people.
Already, more than 1,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands of residents displaced. Three-hundred members of the National Guard are on duty in Oklahoma and Texas to help with cleanup efforts.
In Houston, 10 inches of rain pounded the area overnight. The city’s mass transit system suspended all service, and the Houston Independent School District closed schools today for the 215,000 students.
Flooding comes amid Texas’s five-year drought.