Torrential rains pounded southeastern Texas on Sunday October 25th, as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia converged with a second storm system, but the area that is home to more than six million people and the center of the U.S. refinery industry sustained little damage.
More than 9 inches (23 cm) of rain swelled rivers and flooded roads in parts of the Houston area, but no injuries or deaths were reported as of Sunday morning as flash flood warnings ended and storms targeted southwest Louisiana.
“Expect rain all day, but (the) storm has largely passed with minor problems,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker said on Twitter on Sunday.
Petroleum refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast – more than 40 percent of U.S. capacity – appeared to have survived the storm unscathed.
In the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin oil fields of south and west Texas, firms did not report any major production cuts. While the rains were steady and heavy in Houston, they came after a month-long dry spell so flooding was relatively limited.
Two dozen people died in Texas in a one-week period in May after record rainfall sparked flooding that ripped homes from foundations and swept over vehicles.
The storms over the past two days drenched a large swath from south of Dallas to the southeast coast, triggering flash flooding in Navarro County, about 50 miles (80 km) south of Dallas, on Saturday.
A Union Pacific freight train carrying cement derailed in Navarro County after a creek overflowed, washing out the tracks. Locomotives and rail cars were pushed on their sides, and a two-person crew was forced to swim to safety.
Repair teams cleared the derailed cars by Sunday morning, but they were not expected to be righted for several hours and a locomotive was not seen being moved until later in the day, Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff said on Sunday afternoon.
Crews began to repair damaged tracks, but water was still rushing over sections. The rail line was not due to reopen until Monday at the earliest, he said.
Navarro County was one of the hardest-hit areas. The tiny town of Powell got 20 inches (50 cm) of rain over 30 hours, said meteorologist Brett Rathbun of Accuweather.
Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner reported dozens of rescues from vehicles, homes and businesses since Friday.
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