911 calls describe chaos of Texas floods

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Water from heavy rainfall pushed the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas near bankful on May 27, 2015. The river crested at 40.18 ft. on May 23, 2014.

TEXAS — In an early 911 call, she sounds cool and collected, if a little alarmed.

“The water is up to the second story in the house,” says Laura McComb. “It’s coming up to the second floor. I mean, it’s so high up. And we have no exit out.”

She called from a vacation cabin in Wimberley, Texas, which was hit with heavy rains and flooding last month. As the nearby Blanco River swelled, the house was knocked loose, sweeping McComb, her husband, their children and others into the water.

A little while later, another call comes in to 911 from the same location. This time, the woman does not identify herself, but there is panic in her voice.

“Our house is down! We’re floating,” she says.

And still later, another 911 call.

A man who identifies himself as Brian says he just saw a house go by on the river.

“There was someone in it with a bright light trying to flash us,” he said. “They’ve already hit the bridge, I’m sure.”

At least 23 people were killed across the state in the floods, including Laura McComb, and at least one of her two children. Her husband survived. Their second child is missing.

Over the weekend, searchers found the body of Randy Charba. He had also been in the house, along with his wife and child. His wife died; their child is still missing.

Torrential rains in May caused widespread flooding in Texas, inundating businesses, knocking out bridges and sweeping some homes from their foundations. More than 37 trillion gallons of water fell on the state last month, according to the National Weather Service. The storms also caused destruction and deaths in Oklahoma and Mexico.

 

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