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Two dead as torrential rains, tornadoes lash central Texas
October 31, 2015 / 5:38 PM / in 2 years

Two dead as torrential rains, tornadoes lash central Texas

A car washed up against a tree in Cyprus Creek, a tributary of the Blanco River, in Wimberley, Hays County, Texas October 30, 2015.Ilana Panich-Linsman

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - At least two people were killed when a storm with high winds and heavy rains pelted central Texas on Friday, flooding highways, causing evacuations after rivers overflowed and spawning tornadoes that ripped through buildings outside San Antonio.

The body of one man swept away by raging waters when his vehicle was caught southeast of Austin has been recovered, a Travis County emergency official said, adding one elderly woman was still missing.

Near San Antonio, U.S. Army officials said the body of an individual, who was washed downstream when a vehicle was picked up by fast moving flood waters, was found on Friday afternoon on Camp Bullis. The names of both victims have not been released.

There were more than 40 high-water rescues in the area with about 13 inches (33 cm) of rain falling within a few hours in parts of the region south of the state capital of Austin, officials said.

Some area rivers hit record flood peaks, the U.S. Geological Survey said, adding the levels began to drop from Friday afternoon.

More than 200 low-water crossings were closed due to the storm, which hit in the same area where flooding in late May caused more than 20 deaths.

Suzzy Hald of Wimberley surveys the damage after rain on the Blanco River in Wimberley, Hays County, Texas October 30, 2015.Ilana Panich-Linsman

The Austin Fire Department responded to about 500 calls for help while some residents in the nearby city of San Marcos were told to boil water for safety.

Hays County issued evacuation orders and set up shelters for hundreds along the Blanco and San Marcos rivers, two waterways hard hit by the May floods.

Suzzy Hald of Wimberley surveys the damage after rain on the Blanco River in Wimberley, Hays County, Texas October 30, 2015.Ilana Panich-Linsman

In Floresville, about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of San Antonio, a high school wall was ripped apart by high winds that also tossed a recreational vehicle trailer onto the roof of a hotel, TV video from the area showed.

"I am seeing the tires from the trailer on the roof of the Holiday Inn Express," Floresville resident Donna Rudolph-Miller told reporters.

In Seguin, east of San Antonio, about 20 structures were damaged and five homes destroyed, city officials said.

The storm caused operations to halt for several hours at Austin's main airport. The ground floor of the Austin Air Traffic Control Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control facility was flooded by approximately six inches (15 cm) of water during the storm, airport officials said.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio and by Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas; Editing by Bill Trott and Sandra Maler

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