Forty people are unaccounted for after the significant flooding along the Blanco River in Central Texas, Hays County’s commissioner said Tuesday afternoon.
Twelve of those people went missing after their vacation home was swept down the rain-swollen river and slammed into a bridge.
Conley says the rest may be people who are staying elsewhere or aren’t at home.
A weekend of torrential rains and flooding also destroyed properties in that area of Hays County, which is about 35 miles southwest of Austin, when the Blanco River rose to 44.5 feet, knocking out the water gauge, well above the flood stage of 13 feet.
In Houston, authorities recovered three more bodies from the floodwaters — two of them in the city and a third in a vehicle on Interstate 45. That brings to 12 the number of people killed by the storms in Oklahoma and Texas.
The water rose overnight after the area received about 11 inches of rain, much of it in a six-hour period.
Between 500 and 700 homes in surrounding Harris County have sustained some level of damage, according to county flood control district spokeswoman Kim Jackson.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker said officials in the nation’s fourth-largest city would be “on the alert” as the bayous rise.
The search for the missing picked up after a holiday weekend of storms dumped record rainfall on the Plains and Midwest.
Authorities were also searching for victims and assessing damage just across the Texas-Mexico border in Ciudad Acuna, where a tornado Monday killed 13 people and left at least five unaccounted for.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared disasters in 37 counties.
“You cannot candy coat it. It’s absolutely massive,” Abbott said after touring the destruction.
Little relief was in sight for the region as around 32 million Americans in the Plains and South were in the path of dangerous thunderstorms on Tuesday, NBC News reported.
“There will be another round of thunderstorms developing in central Texas in the mid-afternoon today, which could then clip Houston and Dallas by the evening,” Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth said.
The worst flooding damage was in Wimberley, a popular tourist town along the Blanco River in the corridor between Austin and San Antonio. That’s where the vacation home was swept away.
The “search component” of the mission ended Monday night, meaning no more survivors were expected to be found in the flood debris, said Trey Hatt, a spokesman for the Hays County Emergency Operations Center.
Witnesses reported seeing the swollen river push the home off its foundation and smash it into a bridge. Only pieces of the home have been found, Hays County Judge Bert Cobb said.
One person who was rescued from the home told workers that the other 12 inside were all connected to two families, Cobb said Monday night. Young children were among those believed to be missing.