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Death toll rises to six after storms and tornadoes lash Texas

Published 01/11/2015

The aftermath of flooding in the Thoroughbred Farms subdivision near Elroy, Texas (AP)
The aftermath of flooding in the Thoroughbred Farms subdivision near Elroy, Texas (AP)

The death toll rose to six in Texas as more bodies were recovered after another band of strong storms and heavy rain spawned three tornadoes and dangerous flooding in the waterlogged state.

It was the second day of turbulent weather in Texas, where at least four people died on Friday in flood waters.

The storms and suspected tornadoes, which forecasters say were caused by an upper-level disturbance from Mexico, hit an already-sodden swath of Texas that was still drying out from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.

In the Houston area, some locations had received nearly 12 inches of rain since Friday. The water flooded streets and caused bayous to spill over their banks.

The Houston Fire Department said it had responded to more than 130 water rescues on Saturday, and some public light-rail and bus services were suspended.

Houston police discovered two bodies that are believed to be weather-related deaths, one in a flooded ditch and another in a wooded area where there had been high water.

As the storms moved east on Saturday, National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Blood said a tornado went through Brazoria County near Alvin at about 5am local time, damaging about 25 mobile homes in the community 30 miles south of Houston.

County spokeswoman Sharon Trower said two people in a mobile home suffered minor injuries, as well as three others in a house in a community nearby.

Thirty minutes later, a tornado hit the Houston suburb of Friendswood, where about 30 homes had minor damage and the roof of one home was ripped off.

David McCullough, 70, who lived in the most severely damaged home, said he and his wife were out of town when the storm hit and he got the call from a neighbour.

The NWS rated the tornado as an EF-2 when it first touched down, which can spawn winds of up to 150mph.

"I feel like it's a blessing that we weren't here," he said as friends and family members helped them try to salvage personal items, pictures and documents from their home of 32 years.

"It's just stuff and it can be replaced. Had we been here, it could have been very bad."

Between 10 and 30 homes were damaged by a tornado in a subdivision in eastern Harris County at about 7am local time on Saturday, Mr Blood said.

Austin, San Antonio and surrounding areas were first confronted with flooding on Friday. Four people died when they were swept away by flood waters.

Two bodies were recovered in the Austin and San Antonio areas on Friday.

Two more bodies were recovered on Saturday in the Austin area.

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