HOUSTON (AP) — At least three people were still missing Sunday after being swept away in Texas and Kansas, and slowly rising rivers in southeast Texas have led to numerous evacuations, including two prisons.
Four people have died due to the flooding that followed torrential rains in some parts of the U.S. over the last few days. But the threat of severe weather has lessened over the long Memorial Day holiday for many places, though Tropical Depression Bonnie continued to bring rain and wind to North and South Carolina.
Along the rain-swollen Brazos River near Houston, Texas prison officials are evacuating about 2,600 inmates from two prisons because of expected flooding.
Inmates at the Terrell and Stringfellow Units in Rosharon, about 30 miles south of Houston, were being moved Sunday morning to other prisons that have available space, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said. Inmates in a low-level security camp at a third prison in the area are being moved to the main prison building, Clark said.
All three prisons are in coastal Brazoria County, where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
“TDCJ officials continue to monitor the situation and are working with our state partners as the river level rises,” Clark said, noting that additional food and water has been delivered to prisons that are getting the displaced inmates and sandbags have been filled and delivered to the prisons where flooding is anticipated.
The rising water in several Houston-area rivers and creeks prompted Harris County officials on Saturday to ask about 750 families in the Northwood Pines subdivision to voluntarily evacuate their homes and apartments. Officials also warned residents living near the west fork of the San Jacinto River, north of Houston, that rising waters were likely to flood homes, even those that are elevated, Sanchez said.
“The skies are clear and things look good. But we want to make sure people understand that we are not out of the woods yet. We have to keep an eye on water that’s coming through our bayou system,” said Francisco Sanchez, a spokesman for the Office of Emergency Management in Harris County.
In Kansas, the search for a missing 11-year-old boy resumed Sunday morning and expanded beyond the swollen creek he fell into Friday night, according to Wichita Fire Department battalion chief Scott Brown. “We are more in body recovery mode than rescue,” Brown said Saturday night.
Near Austin in Travis County, Texas, officials planned to resume aerial searches on Sunday for two missing people whose vehicle was swept off a flooded roadway after the area got 9 inches of rain this week, said emergency services spokeswoman Lisa Block.
Four people have died from flooding in rural Washington County, Texas, located between Austin and Houston, where more than 16.5 inches of rain fell in some places Thursday and Friday. The bodies of two missing motorists were found Saturday in separate parts of the county, according to Judge John Brieden.
Tropical Depression Bonnie reached the South Carolina coast early Sunday, bringing heavy rain and rough tides to an area packed with tourists for the Memorial Day weekend. Forecasters say up to 8 inches of rain have fallen in parts of southern South Carolina. About 3 inches of rain fell in Charleston in 24 hours and more is expected, according to the National Weather Service.
Associated Press writers Juan A. Lozano in Houston, David Warren in Dallas and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.