Storms force some South Texas schools to cancel

April 16, 2012 4:03:57 PM PDT
A spring storm swamped parts of South Texas with more than a foot of rain Monday, forcing some schools to cancel classes.

Parts of San Patricio County received 15 inches of rain in about a five-hour period, according to the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi. Street flooding was especially severe in the Gregory and Portland areas, NWS forecaster Joel Veeneman said.

A cold front stalled over parts of South Texas, unleashing downpours that warranted a flash flood watch for the Coastal Bend until late Monday afternoon, Veeneman said.

Emergency management officials had no reports of anyone hurt. However, about 1 sq. mile of the small town of Gregory was flooded, Police Chief Joseph Roberts told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Larry Paton, who is part of a Red Cross disaster assessment team, said that he saw damaged roofs, broken windows and fences blown down in the Gregory-Portland-Aransas Pass area. The greatest damage, he said, was in northeast Portland, where wind appeared to have lifted a trailer and lifted it to the other side of a boat.

Police officers and sheriff's deputies waded through waist-deep water to check on some of Gregory's 2,000 residents, Roberts said. Most homes in the center of the town have pier-and-beam foundations, and wakes from passing vehicles can be enough to float them off their foundations, he said.

At one point, the Tradewinds community about 5 miles north of Gregory was all but cut off by floodwaters.

"You just can't get to it from Gregory. You've got to go around the back side," William Zagorski, San Patricio County emergency management coordinator, told the newspaper.

The Gregory-Portland Independent School District called off classes Monday. School was expected to resume Tuesday, a time when forecasters say the rough weather system should be gone.

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