Trop­i­cal de­pres­sion drenches flooded border

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE -

LAREDO — A trop­i­cal de­pres­sion dumped more rain on Texas and north­ern Mex­ico on Thurs­day, as the Rio Grande, nor­mally lit­tle more than a trickle, bulged into a mighty river along much of its south­ern reach.

Au­thor­i­ties in Laredo evac­u­ated sev­eral neigh­bor­hoods close to the river and a 16-story ho­tel on the banks as the river grew to 42 feet deep and wa­ter be­gan to creep into some homes. More rain was ex­pected to keep the wa­ter level high, city spokes­woman Xo­chitl Mora Gar­cia said.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to de­scribe,” said Jerry Archer, man­ager of Rio Grande Plaza Ho­tel. He es­ti­mated that the river was about 15 times its usual size. “I was born and raised on the Mis­sis­sippi River, but peo­ple here are used to just a small stream.”

The muddy wa­ters — driven by dam re­leases up­stream and rain-swollen trib­u­taries af­ter last week’s Hur­ri­cane Alex — sub­merged light poles and tow­er­ing palm trees, leav­ing only a few fronds wav­ing above the wa­ter line.

Na­tional Guard troops ar­rived Thurs­day to help with evac­u­a­tions, and peo­ple in low-ly­ing ar­eas gath­ered sand­bags to pro­tect their homes be­fore be­ing forced to leave.

Nancy Castillo, 35, picked up sand­bags while her sis­ter pre­pared to evac­u­ate from her home near a dry creek bed over­flow­ing with wa­ter

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