16-county tornado watch, heavy rain, flash floods usher in holiday weekend

May 24, 2015
Photo: Grounds crew pull the tarp, rain delay, Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants May 22 (AP)
Grounds crew members pull the tarp after umpires called for a rain delay as the Colorado Rockies batted against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday. On Saturday, Daniel Descalso homered and drove in three runs and the Colorado Rockies snapped the San Francisco Giants' eight-game winning streak, taking the second game of a rain-soaked doubleheader 5-3.

More flood warnings were issued on Saturday as rain and hail pelted parts of Colorado, and a tornado watch was issued for 16 counties, including Denver and Denver International Airport, but there were no reports of tornadoes or damage.

A flash flood warning was issued Saturday for Otero County in southeast Colorado. Flood warnings continued for the Cache La Poudre River near Greeley, the South Platte River and the Arkansas River near Avondale, affecting Pueblo and Otero counties.

Officials in El Paso and Pueblo counties said they will ask Gov. John Hickenlooper for a disaster declaration after rain and flooding pounded the region over the past three weeks. The National Weather Service is telling Coloradans to expect more rain off and on across the state through Tuesday.

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for residents in the Globe Meadows area on the north side of Sterling after the North Sterling Reservoir inlet ditch spilled over its banks.

The Northeast Public Affairs Collaborative issued a statement early Sunday saying people were going door-to-door and emergency notification calls were placed to homes in the evacuation zone.

The Sterling Police Department and Sterling Fire Department are using large rescue vehicles to help with the evacuations.

An evacuation shelter has been opened by the Red Cross in Sterling.

Several rescues were reported, but there were no reports of injuries.

And in the mountains, it was snowing:

Elsewhere across the nation’s midsection, the wild weather continued.

Flooding in Texas

Some parts of Texas have seen up to 10 inches of rain in 24 hours, and the waters continue to overwhelm communities.

Dozens of high-water rescues in Central Texas were reported overnight as the Blanco River and other swollen waterways breached their banks and residents early Sunday fled their homes.

The Blanco River swamped sections of Interstate 35 on Sunday, forcing parts of the busy north-south highway to close. The National Weather Service says the river crested Sunday at more than 40 feet; its flood stage is 13 feet.

The weather service has issued flash flood warnings for much of the state, particularly Central and North Texas.

Rain in many areas is expected to diminish somewhat but forecasts call for continued periods of rainfall through the week.

A mandatory evacuation has been issued for residents in an area north of Houston because authorities are concerned heavy rains may cause a dam to fail.

The evacuation area is between Lake Conroe and nearby Lake Lewis, about 50 miles north of Houston. The Montgomery County Emergency Management office said in a statement Sunday that the dam on Lake Lewis remains intact.

The area received rain overnight and the National Weather Service expects another 2 to 3 inches through Sunday along with damaging winds. Up to 4 inches of rains could fall Monday.

Montgomery County officials say a Red Cross shelter is open in Montgomery to assist residents who have been evacuated.

Swept away in Oklahoma

Authorities in northeast Oklahoma say a firefighter for the city of Claremore has died after being swept away by floodwaters while assisting in a water rescue from a house.

Rogers County Emergency Management spokesman Thomas Hudson says the firefighter died early Sunday morning. The man was standing in some water during the rescue, lost his footing and was swept away. The firefighter's name has not been released.

The flooding is due to days of heavy rain throughout the state, especially in the southwest part, as well as Oklahoma City and Norman. Hudson says the Claremore area is expecting more rain Sunday.

Authorities in Oklahoma and Texas say they have been conducting numerous rescues of residents from flooding areas.

In Hays County in Central Texas, sheriff's Lt. Jeri Skrocki tells The Associated Press that residents in the small community of Wimberley, about 40 miles southwest of Austin, are being urged to evacuate as the nearby Blanco River continues to rise at a record-high level.

She says no serious injuries have been reported and that emergency shelters have been set up for residents at schools, a church, a nursing home and a community center.

In Oklahoma, authorities in Cleveland and Comanche counties say in news releases that they also have assisted with rescues after flooding, including people trapped in their attics and on their roofs.

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