Flooding fears ease as Texas storm moves on

Forecasters said Sunday that relentless storms that dumped more than a foot of rain in some parts of Texas were moving on and that dangerous flood warnings were coming to an end.

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Overpeck said that soaking showers around Houston should begin clearing in the afternoon.

No deaths or major destruction have been reported since heavy rains started drenching Texas on Friday.

Remnants of Hurricane Patricia and a separate storm system combined to create the biggest deluge in Texas since torrential rains in May washed away homes and killed dozens. But Overpeck said a hot and dry summer allowed the ground to soak up more water this time.

Weekend flooding did cause the derailment of a train and backed up traffic on a busy Texas interstate for 12 miles.

Authorities said Sunday that only about two dozen cars around Houston were towed from flooded streets. Francisco Sanchez, a spokesman for Harris County's emergency management division, says residents heeded warnings this time around.

At least 2,500 vehicles were stranded around Houston after Memorial Day storms dumped heavy rains and damaged thousands of homes.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry issued a voluntary evacuation Saturday for Bolivar Peninsula, just northeast of Galveston Island, after forecasters predicted the area would get 8 to 12 inches of rain and tides 4 to 5 feet high.

County spokeswoman Brittany Rainville said officials don't think many people chose to evacuate. The roughly 4,000 people who live on the peninsula are used to flooding and usually stay, she said.

Bryan Brawner, who owns a charter company on the peninsula that takes people fishing in the Galveston Bay, said: "Most people are just going to have their groceries and watch TV and watch it rain."

"People just know not to get out and drive anywhere," he added.

Carole Hamadey, who owns a bed-and-breakfast there, also planned to stay, along with about seven guests.

"I feel comfortable. I'm about 16 feet off the ground. The guests seem to feel OK, too," she said, adding that she'd ridden out Hurricane Ike there in 2008.

A Union Pacific freight train derailed before dawn Saturday near Corsicana, about 50 miles south of Dallas, because a creek overflowed and washed away the tracks, said Jeff DeGraff, a railroad spokesman. The two crew members swam to safety and nobody was hurt, he said.

One locomotive and several rail cars loaded with gravel went into the water and were partly submerged, DeGraff said.

In San Antonio, a man walking his dog before dawn Saturday was swept into a flooded drainage ditch and disappeared, fire officials said. The dog was safe.

Patricia was the most powerful hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere and made landfall Friday along Mexico's Pacific Coast as a Category 5 storm. It quickly lost power as it moved inland and appeared to have caused remarkably little damage.