Deadly flash floods leave their mark

Response organizations assess flood response as hundreds of homes are damaged across TX, Wyoming and Utah while rain continues to fall

BY JIM SKILLINGTON | DALLAS, TX | June 10, 2010


Flash flooding in Texas, Wyoming and Utah have turned deadly this week after several days of heavy rain. In Texas alone, nearly a dozen inches of rain has swamped the central portion of the state.

In Comal County, emergency responders plucked nearly 90 people from their homes or trees after the Guadalupe River overflowed its banks. At least one person was killed in the flash flooding.

In addition to property damage Texas health officials were warning of water contamination when a sewage treatment plant was overrun by the flooding. New Braunfels Utilities shut down the plant but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said downstream residents should wear protective clothing when cleaning up their homes.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned residents to keep an eye on forecasts that predict additional rainfall as he activated emergency resources to deal with the flooding. "We will. . .continue to take action to protect Texans as needed," he said.

Rain wasn't the only hazard to hit the state Wednesday. The National Weather Service said a small tornado caused property damage in Jefferson County.

As Texans coped with the heavy rain, emergency officials in Wyoming and Utah dealt with record flooding in those states as well.

In Wyoming, Deborah J. Nelson-Allender, president of the state's VOAD (Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster) said Thursday its members were preparing to help flood survivors. The American Red Cross is preparing to set up two shelters near Lander, the Salvation Army is prepared to send a mobile feeding van and the Food bank of the Rockies is providing additional resources.

The Little Wind River in Fremont County, WY, crested at a new record high Wednesday morning. More than 200 members of the Wyoming National Guard were in the county helping with security and filling nearly 200,000 sandbags. It is the largest state activation of the Guard in more than 10 years.

As rain continues to fall across the state, sandbagging is continuing in Carbon and Hot Springs Counties.

Hundreds of homes have reported to be damaged and a number of highway bridges have either been washed away or destroyed and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been asked to inspect the Washakie Dam according to Bill Masson, Fremont County's transportation department's engineer.

Wyoming Gov. Dave Fredenthal has declared the Fremont county to be a disaster area.

In Utah, forecasters have added flood warnings for the Little Cottonwood Creek and Weber River as rain continued to fall across the northern portion of the state. However, in Salt Lake County residents continued to clean up following flooding earlier in the week.


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