Central Texas hit by tornados, flash floods
At least four people died, three others reported missing
By Jonathan Osborne
Thursday, November 15, 2001
Tornadoes uprooted trees, ripped roofs off buildings and overturned 18-wheelers. Flash floods transformed major streets and intersections into streams. At least four people died, and three others were reported missing, including an Austin police officer.
Mother Nature wreaked havoc on Central Texas on Thursday, producing storms that knocked out power to 37,000 homes, disrupted cell phone service and turned traffic-clogged streets into a wet parking lot.
"I was born here," said Warren Hassinger, spokesman for the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services. "I'm seeing streets and areas of Austin flooded that I have never seen flooded before."
The train of storms that, one after another, dumped 13 inches of rain in some places was created by a strong low pressure area centered over the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. It began rumbling across the Hill Country and Central Texas late Wednesday and produced a supercell, or severe storm, over Hays County on Thursday afternoon. Rain fell at a rate of up to 3 inches an hour, said Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose.
At 3:12 p.m., a tornado descended from the supercell and touched down along Interstate 35 north of San Marcos. Three minutes later, between Kyle and Buda, the tornado uprooted trees and overturned at least two 18-wheelers on the interstate
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