Commodities: Heavy Rains Soak Texas, Causing Flooding and Derailing Freight Train

Associated Press 
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DALLAS–Southeast Texas was bracing for heavy rain late Saturday, as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia combined with a powerful storm system that has been rumbling across the state, flooding roads and causing a freight train to derail.

Brian Kyle, lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston, said the agency expects Saturday’s light-to-moderate rain in Southeast Texas to intensify overnight. He said most of the heavy rain would occur overnight and last until noon on Sunday, with rainfall ranging from a couple of inches to as much as a foot offshore.

“There will be localized flooding in Houston, primarily street flooding, ” Houston Mayor Annise Parker said, adding that people should be prepared to be patient. “Spend some time, wherever you are, if that area is experiencing particularly heavy rainfall,” she said.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry has issued a voluntary evacuation for Bolivar Peninsula, just northeast of Galveston Island, after forecasters predicted the area would get eight to 12 inches of rain and tides of 4 to 5 feet in height.

The judge warned residents who don’t leave might find themselves cut off from emergency services. But county spokeswoman Brittany Rainville said officials don’t think very many people chose to evacuate. She said the county had two buses waiting all day to evacuate people but no one showed up. About 4,000 people who live on the peninsula are used to flooding and usually stay, she said.

“Most people are just going to have their groceries and watch TV and watch it rain,” said Bryan Brawner, who owns a charter company that takes people fishing in the Galveston Bay. “People just know not to get out and drive anywhere.”

Forecasters said Houston and Galveston remained under a flash flood watch through Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the storm system that had been dumping rain on parts of Texas since Friday caused flooding that blocked several major roadways and caused the derailment of a train.

A Union Pacific freight train derailed before dawn on Saturday near Corsicana, about 50 miles south of Dallas, because a creek had overflowed and washed away the tracks, said Jeff DeGraff, a railroad spokesman. The two crew members swam to safety and no one was hurt, he said.

“They [crew] escaped the train after it stopped and [they] swam to high ground,” Mr. DeGraff said. “A Navarro County rescue team was able to get in and pull them to safety. They are back safe on dry ground.”

One locomotive and several railcars loaded with gravel went into the water and were partly submerged, Mr. DeGraff said.

Patricia was the most powerful hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere and made landfall on Friday along Mexico’s Pacific Coast as a Category 5 storm. It quickly lost force as it moved inland and appears to have caused remarkably little damage.