(Updates with second woman believed drowned, 130 rescues)
By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO May 25 One woman died when her car
was washed off a bridge and a second was believed to have
drowned on Saturday as drenching rains in San Antonio triggered
floodwaters so strong they swept a city bus off the street and
forced the rescue of some 130 people, officials said.
The flooding, which followed torrential rains that brought
flash-flood warnings across South Texas, inundated a number of
major thoroughfares in San Antonio and collapsed the roof of an
Several dozen people were evacuated after water rose rapidly
through a neighborhood near the Mission Espada, one of the 18th
century Spanish colonial missions that dot the city's south side
along the San Antonio River.
Priscilla Ingle, vice president of the city's Via Metro
Transit, said rescue teams had to pull the driver of a city bus
and three passengers to safety, and bus service was shut down
until the water receded to safer levels.
"The bus was driving down the street when water got under
its tires," she said. "This forced the bus off the street as the
Authorities rescued 130 people before the floodwaters began
A 29-year-old woman was killed in the city when her car was
washed into a creek as she tried to drive across a bridge,
police said. Local media said a male passenger survived.
Authorities were searching for the body of a second woman
who was believed to have drowned on San Antonio's west side.
Neither of the victims was immediately identified.
'STAY OFF THE ROADS'
"We ask San Antonians to please stay off the roads and stay
at home," Mayor Julian Castro said.
Flash-flood warnings were in effect across south-central
Texas, including in San Antonio, through Sunday morning, with
downpours of 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) expected on Saturday
evening, according to the National Weather Service.
Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove said the roof of an
apartment complex collapsed from accumulated rainfall and that
firefighters had been called to several fires believed to have
been caused by lightning.
At one point in midmorning, several dozen major
thoroughfares in the city were closed by floodwaters, although
police said in a statement that many streets were starting to be
Bove said his department was receiving about 30 calls an
hour from motorists stranded in rapidly rising water.
Parts of San Antonio, home to the historic Alamo, received 9
inches (24 cm) of rain in three to four hours, the National
Weather Service said.
As San Antonio began to mop up from the flood, authorities
in Wilson County, to the southeast, ordered evacuations as the
rising waters moved downstream. There were no immediate reports
of injuries there.
The rain comes as central Texas is preparing to move into
summer with lake and aquifer levels substantially below normal.
Elsewhere in the state, storms spawned a tornado two hours
away in Victoria County, the National Weather Service said. A
sheriff's dispatcher said the twister touched down in a field
and there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Gunna Dickson and Peter Cooney)