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Sep 18, 2014 11:58 AM

Texas sheriff's deputy missing during flooding

The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Rescue crews were searching Thursday for a Texas sheriff's deputy who radioed for help minutes before her empty patrol car was found submerged by floodwaters.

Roger Wade, a spokesman for the Travis County Sheriff's Office, said the deputy was checking low-water crossings during storms. She radioed shortly before 2 a.m. CDT Thursday, saying her vehicle was being washed away in an Austin-area subdivision.

"We believe she was swept into the low-water crossing by water going down the street," said Wade, who identified the deputy only as a seven-year veteran of the department.

Austin-Travis County EMS had three other swift-water rescues, with nobody hurt, said Cmdr. Mike Benavides.

The Austin area received between 5 and 7 inches of rain early Thursday, said Cory Van Pelt, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in New Braunfels. Rainfall from remnants of Hurricane Odile pelted parts of the U.S. Southwest, including in Texas from El Paso to Austin.

"We are getting moisture from Odile," Van Pelt said. "We also got a lot of Gulf of Mexico moisture that came in, a combination of the two."

Austin Energy reported about 1,100 customers without power Thursday.

In far West Texas, forecasters issued a flash flood watch through Thursday night for the El Paso area, where two people were rescued from a swamped vehicle. A third person who swam to safety was being treated for minor injuries, said El Paso Fire Department Battalion Chief Carlos Franco.

Several hundred homes and businesses in the El Paso area lost electricity, according to El Paso Electric.


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