Texas weather: Gov. Abbott urges compliance with evacuation orders
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is urging people in flooded areas of the state to heed warnings when they're told to evacuate and to not drive through high water or around barricades.
Abbott gave a briefing Friday after taking an aerial tour of flooded Fort Bend and Brazoria counties, south of Houston. He says he's seen and heard too many stories of people being trapped in rising waters.
The governor says the accident at Fort Hood demonstrates that even trained soldiers can be swept away. Five soldiers were killed Thursday when their truck overturned in a flooded creek. Four remain missing.
Abbott says the Fort Hood deaths show that everyone needs to understand the power of rising water and the danger it can pose.
Crews in helicopters and boats are searching the 20-mile Owl Creek for four soldiers missing after a truck overturned in high water at Fort Hood.
The creek winds through heavily wooded terrain at the Army post.
Owl Creek Park, where the creek feeds into Lake Belton at the northeast edge of Fort Hood, is serving as a launching point for Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens who deployed two sonar boats in the search effort while a state Department of Public Safety helicopter flies overhead.
The normally 30- to 40-foot-wide creek at the park is swollen Friday to some 500 feet wide.
An apartment complex has been evacuated after ground saturated by days of rain collapsed and undermined retaining walls along a lake southwest of Fort Worth.
Images provided by KDFW-TV in Dallas show the ground slid away from a corner of the complex Friday morning, leaving the foundation exposed and a steep drop extending toward Lake Granbury.
Fire officials say no injuries have been reported but authorities are determining whether other nearby structures may be threatened, too.
The lake is part of the Brazos River, which extends through much of Texas and has been the source of extensive flooding in the state.
The river near Granbury on Friday was more than 4 feet above flood stage, close to a record crest of nearly 36 feet.
A third Texas prison near the Brazos River in southeast Texas is being evacuated because of flooding.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Friday began moving about 1,700 inmates from the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, about 30 miles south of Houston. They're being placed on buses for transfer to other prisons in East Texas that have room.
Some 2,600 inmates at two nearby prisons in Brazoria County, the Terrell and Stringfellow Units, were moved out Sunday.
Agency spokesman Jason Clark says additional food and water has been delivered to the prisons receiving the displaced inmates.
Nearly the entire eastern half of Texas is under a flash flood watch or warning as the effects of days of heavy rains linger in creeks and rivers.
Storms off the southeast Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico are threatening to worsen flooding in places like Brazoria and Fort Bend counties, southwest of Houston, where residents near the Brazos River have been forced from their homes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to tour the area Friday afternoon.
The river at Richmond in Fort Bend County, where flood stage is 48 feet, was 54.35 feet Friday morning, down slightly from Thursday. Fort Bend officials say 20 percent of the county's land area has been affected by flooding.
Farther south in Brazoria County at Rosharon, the last flood gauge before the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico was at 52.42 feet Friday morning, a half-foot higher than 24 hours earlier. Flood stage is 43 feet.
A Fort Hood spokesman says officials were in the process of closing roads on the sprawling Army post in Texas when a truck carrying 12 soldiers was swept away by high water, killing five and leaving four missing.
Post spokesman Chris Haug said during a news conference Friday that the soldiers were being trained on how to operate the 2 -ton truck when it overturned Thursday morning along Owl Creek.
Haug says the portion of road where the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle overturned was not known to be overrun by water during past floods. The vehicle resembles a flatbed truck with a walled bed and is used to carry troops.
Emergency crews searched through the night for the four missing soldiers. Three others pulled from the water are hospitalized in stable condition.
Army teams and other emergency crews continue to search along a Fort Hood creek for four soldiers still missing from a truck that overturned in the swift water, killing at least five soldiers and injuring three.
Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug said the search continued after teams found the bodies late Thursday night of two soldiers who had been in the vehicle. Three others were found dead shortly after the 2 -ton truck overturned in Owl Creek during a morning training exercise on the sprawling Central Texas army post.
Three soldiers were rescued and were hospitalized in stable condition.
A Fort Hood spokesman said the truck was going over a crossing flooded by two days of intermittent heavy rains when it was swept away.