Rain deluge brings floods to Texas and Oklahoma, killing 2 and forcing thousands to evacuate

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Police officers make an emergency water rescue of a stranded motorist after heavy rain showers flood much of Amarillo, Texas, May 23, 2015.


A deluge of rainfall has burst rivers and brought flood warnings to several southern US states, with Texas and Oklahoma the worst hit so far.

Two people died in weather-related accidents in Oklahoma and a man died in San Marcos, Texas.

Parts of Texas saw up to 10 inches (25cm) of rain over a 24-hour period, with more predicted across the region.

There were numerous rescues on Sunday after banks burst, and hundreds of homes were destroyed in central Texas.

Warnings and alerts stretch from Colorado through to Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and eastern Kansas.

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The Blanco river basin in Texas is one of the worst hit areas

'Worst I've seen'

One of the worst hit rivers was the Blanco in Texas.

At one point it crested at 43ft (13m) - some 30ft above the designated flood stage and 7ft higher than the 1929 record.

A flash flood emergency - reserved for the most life-threatening situations - is in effect in the river basin area.

Some 1,000 people nearby were evacuated and parts of the Interstate 35 highway were flooded and closed.

Rudy Olivo, a resident of San Marcos, told Associated Press: "This is the worst I've seen it because the water rose so fast."

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Highway patrolmen use air boats for rescues in Purcell, Oklahoma


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Several hundred houses have been destroyed in Wimberley

San Marcos emergency management coordinator, Kenneth Bell, said the body of one man had been recovered but had no more details. Three more people are missing.

Kristi Wyatt, communications director for the town, said: "We have people on car tops and rooftops awaiting rescue. People in homes are going to higher levels."

She said hundreds of people were now in evacuation centres and that floodwaters had washed away five police cars.

Several hundred houses were destroyed in the town of Wimberley.

"It looks pretty bad out there," said Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith.

"We do have whole streets with maybe one or two houses left on them and the rest are just slabs," she said.

A tornado hit Houston briefly on Sunday, damaging buildings and injuring at least two people.

Warnings of more tornados have been issued for parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.

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Flood victims are rescued in Kyle, Texas


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A couple in Oklahoma had to make three trips to rescue their pets

The storm sewer system in parts of San Antonio saw water exploding from sewer covers.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered at Lake Lewis, 50 miles (80km) north of Houston, which itself saw high winds bringing down trees and blowing out windows.

Wichita Falls, also in Texas, was warned its river could burst its banks.

A fire-fighter died in Oklahoma after being swept away as he took part in a rescue effort in the town of Claremore, in the north-east of the state. He was named as Capt Jason Farley.

A woman was also killed in a weather-related traffic accident in Tulsa.

Residents were rescued from roofs in the state's Cleveland and Comanche counties.

The National Weather Service says Oklahoma City already has a new monthly rainfall record for May - at 18.19 inches.

In Colorado, El Paso and Pueblo counties and the city of Sterling were badly affected.