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May 27, 2015 12:50 PM

Latest on flooding: Missing Texas woman's car found in ditch

The Associated Press

11:45 a.m.

Authorities in South Texas are searching for a 73-year-old woman whose car was found in a ditch submerged in floodwater.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that Alice Tovar's car was found Tuesday afternoon in the Rosenberg area, which is about 30 miles southwest of Houston.

She is among more than a dozen people in Texas that have gone missing since storms caused extensive flooding over the last few days.

The sheriff's office says Tovar's daughter went looking for her after a hearing that her mother's car wasn't parked at the store where she works. She found the submerged car along the route her mother takes to work, and a passing motorist used his truck to pull it from the ditch. Tovar wasn't in the car.


10:45 a.m.

Police say the threat of a dam southwest of Dallas breaking has passed.

Midlothian police Capt. John Spann said late Wednesday morning that water was still coming over the earthen dam at Padera Lake, near Midlothian, but that the volume had decreased. The area has experienced days of heavy rain.

Emergency personnel planned to shut down Highway 287 if the dam broke, because it could have flooded with a couple feet of water. About a dozen homes in the mostly rural area were threatened as well.

Midlothian is some 25 miles southwest of Dallas.


9:20 a.m.

New thunderstorms are snarling traffic in the flood-weary Houston area but don't appear to be exacerbating the problems in parts of the flood-battered city.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says the good news Wednesday is that the heavy rainfall is in a different area of the region than those most affected on Tuesday. But county officials say additional rainfall could lead to problems on bayous, creeks and rivers.

Some scattered spots on service roads along Interstate 45 north of Houston were flooded but main lanes were moving.

About 2 inches of rain were recorded in north and northwest Harris County Wednesday with a line of storms that began just before dawn. More than double that amount has been reported in more rural counties northwest of Houston.


9:07 a.m.

More than 100,000 gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled into floodwaters after a wastewater treatment plant in Houston flooded.

Houston's Department of Public Works and Engineering said in a news release that the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant flooded Tuesday when a bayou overflowed its banks during extensive rains, damaging the plant's electrical and mechanical systems.

The department says the spill has been contained and they've increased monitoring of the water supply systems. The department says cleanup at the plant will start once the flooding subsides.

The department says people should not swim in affected areas. It also says people are not required to boil their water, but may wish to do so.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been notified of the spill.


7:45 a.m.

Police say emergency personnel could shut down a highway if a dam southwest of Dallas breaks.

Water was flowing over the top of the earthen dam at Padera Lake, near Midlothian, early Wednesday morning following days of heavy rain.

If the dam breaks, Highway 287 could flood with a couple of feet of water.

Midlothian police Capt. John Spann says officials will divert traffic if that happens, but for now they must "just wait and see."

He says it's mostly a rural area, but that residents of around a dozen homes have been warned they could be in jeopardy of flooding if the dam breaks. He says they are not in danger of being swept away and that there's no mandatory evacuation order.

Midlothian is some 25 miles southwest of Dallas.


2:15 a.m.

Authorities in Texas are defending the way they handled alerting residents during the recent severe weather that left about a dozen people missing and about a dozen dead across the state.

But they are also acknowledging some challenges.

In Hays County, where a vacation home was swept away by flooding, authorities say warnings included multiple cellphone alerts and calls to landlines.

Some people also received in-person warnings to evacuate, but officials couldn't say whether the eight people in the washed-away home talked to police.

A county commissioner says leaders will consider changes in dealing with tourists, who are harder to reach.

In Houston, where rain submerged roads and stranded motorists, warnings from the National Weather Service buzzed on cellphones. But city officials hadn't yet installed a system that would allow them to send more targeted warnings.


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