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Frances brings heavy TX rain

BY PJ HELLER | TEXAS | September 11, 1998

Residents along the Texas Gulf Coast were hit with soaking rains and high

tides as Tropical Storm Frances churned ashore, but most people seemed to

be taking the storm in stride.

"Flooding along the coast is pretty much a part of our lives," said the

Rev. Ed Seeger, executive director of Corpus Christi Metro Ministries. "It

hasn't been all that big of a deal."

The Corpus Christi and Padre Island area were spared the brunt of the

storm, which dumped up to a foot of rain and packed winds of 60 mph as it

moved through the Gulf on Friday. A voluntary evacuation order was issued

for Padre Island but Pastor Joe Turner of the Island Presbyterian Church

said few people heeded the warning.

Harder hit was the Houston area, where businesses and schools were forced

to close as the rains inundated low-lying areas, making roads and freeways

into and out of the city impassable. Water nearly covered cars in some

areas.

The Salvation Army opened two shelters in Houston and were supplying meals

to three others manned by the local fire department. It also opened a

shelter in Galveston, where more than 100 people spent the night Thursday,

and another one in Freeport, which hosted 39 people. The American Red Cross

provided shelter for 75 people in Angleton.

"This was only a tropical storm," said Maj. Ron Draper of the Salvation

Army in Freeport. "It could have been a lot worse. It could have been far

worse."

In Del Rio, Texas, which last month was devastated by the remnants of

Tropical Storm Charley, residents kept a wary eye on Frances, fearing it

might prompt more flooding.

"We are a little bit leery," said one resident, but only light rain was

reported in the southwestern Texas town on Friday as the remmants of the

tropical storm marched north from Houston.

The National Weather Service canceled its tropical storm warning Friday

night. Forecasters said the storm was expected to move north from its

position just west of Houston bringing needed moisture to an area that had

been parched by droughts earlier this summer, but not affected by Charley.

Frances was the second tropical system to hit Texas this season and was

blamed for one death in Louisiana and six injuries in that state.

Updated September 11, 1998


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