SAN ANTONIO — Massive flooding from torrential rains in the San Antonio area left at least one person dead Saturday and sent emergency workers rushing in boats to rescue more than 100 residents stranded in cars and homes.
A woman was trapped in her car, got on the roof and was swept away in floodwaters, said San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove. Her body was later found against a fence, he said. Her name was not immediately released.
Rescue workers were searching for someone who was missing after being trapped in another car, Bove said.
The water was very deep in some areas and more flood victims could be found, so the search will continue, officials said.
“We’ll be out there as long as daylight permits and again in the morning if the water recedes,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said, adding that going into floodwaters was more dangerous for firefighters than entering a burning building.
About 130 people were plucked from their homes and cars in the San Antonio area, many by first responders using inflatable boats, he said. The water was up to 4 feet high in some homes, Bove said.
Even a city bus was swept away, but firefighters on a boat were able to rescue the three passengers and driver early Saturday, public transit spokeswoman Priscilla Ingle said. Nobody was injured.
The San Antonio International Airport by Saturday afternoon had recorded 9.87 inches of rain since midnight, causing nearly all streams and rivers to experience extraordinary flooding. The highest amount of rainfall recorded since midnight was 15.5 inches at Olmos Creek at Dresden Drive.
Numerous roads in several counties were closed. Mayor Julian Castro urged residents not to drive.
“We have had too many folks who continue to ignore low-water warnings,” Castro said at a Saturday afternoon news conference.
A flash flood warning was issued for nearly two dozen counties as 2-4 inches of rainfall was forecast overnight.
A flood warning remained for Leon Creek at Interstate 35, where the level was 27.1 feet and was expected to peak at 29 feet Saturday night — nearly twice the flood stage of 15 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The San Antonio River about 20 miles southeast of the city, near Elmendorf, was expected to peak at 62 feet by Sunday morning, well above the flood stage of 35 feet.
The National Weather Service called the region’s flooding a life-threatening situation similar to what happened in October 1998. Up to 30 inches of rain fell in a two-day period, causing floods in the Guadalupe and San Antonio River basins that left more than 30 people dead, according to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority. Parts of 19 counties received at least 8 inches of rain in that storm.