Death toll rises as flood subsides in Texas
Rescue workers waded through receding floodwaters in southeastern Texas on Wednesday in search of other missing victims who may still be alive.
But their efforts came as authorities revised the death toll higher — identifying at least two more victims while another round of storms rolled through earlier in the morning. Total fatalities from the historic flooding across Texas and neighboring Oklahoma increased from 19 to 21 after more bodies were found.
The number of missing stood at 13 people.
Two victims in Hays County, Texas, were identified. One of them was named at a Wednesday morning news conference as Jose Alvaro Arteaga-Pichardo, who had been working on a ranch near the town of Wimberley on Saturday when he was washed away in his SUV by the swelling Blanco River, according to reports.
Another missing person was identified as Michelle Charba, her brother-in-law, Alan Daniel, told NBC News. Charba was one of eight people missing after their vacation home in Wimberley was washed away during the storm over Memorial Day weekend.
“Right now we are still in search mode,” said Kenneth Bell, the emergency management coordinator for San Marcos, Hays County. “Every time it rains, it poses a problem for the guys down there.”
There are more than 100 people involved in the search, Bell told reporters, with more volunteers expected.
The search crews were impeded by more rain Wednesday morning, which hammered parts of Houston, but spared areas that had been inundated with flooding since the Memorial Day weekend. Another foot of water deluged the region overnight Monday into Tuesday, paralyzing roadways and stranding drivers.
Many of the victims died after getting stuck in their vehicles when the waters trapped them.