A family member identified Linda Ashberry, 62, as the grandmother killed early on Saturday after a creek overflowed its banks, flooding an East Texas neighborhood as many residents slept
A 62-year-old and her four young grandchildren have died after being swept away from their home during devastating Texas flash flood.
A family member identified the victims as Linda Ashberry, 62, Voniyaejah Johnson, 9, Devonte Johnson, 8, Von Anthony Watkins, 7, and Jamonica Johnson, 6, reports CBS46.
‘The water was up to the roofline of the homes and that’s what prevented the people from being able to get away,’ said Captain James Muniz of the Palestine Police Department.
‘The water just came up too fast.’
All other residents of the cul-de-sac were accounted for, he said.
City crews found the five bodies near one of the homes before dawn after the floodwaters had receded.
‘The water came down the hill,’ Muniz said.
‘The street was full of mud, so the water just came up. With the enormous amount of rain we had, we had people tell us that within minutes, the water was waist deep.’
City officials used a dump truck to rescue one man from the roof of a home, Muniz said.
One neighbor told authorities that he saw the family but lost sight of them as he waded through waist-deep water.
Police said that several people called to tell them that the grandmother and her children were missing.
Submerged: Capt. James Muniz of the Palestine Police Department said that six to 10 homes in a Palestine cul-de-sac (Palestine pictured) were severely damaged and 62-year-old woman and her grandchildren died
Tragedy: City crews found the five bodies — including the four children, ages 6, 7, 8, and 9— near one of the homes before dawn after the floodwaters had receded. Pictured here is a bar under water nearby
‘We started to get overwhelmed with calls,’ said Muniz.
‘We had fire and other city workers out looking for them and once the water receded, we found them,’ he told NBC.
Residents who evacuated their homes are now trying to see if they can save their personal belongings from the damage.
The Red Cross is helping six to eight families in the neighborhood were displaced by the flooding, NBC reported.
‘All the residences are empty right now. The people are going to go back in a see if they can salvage anything,’ Muniz said.
There was over half a foot of rain fall that fell in Texas. The waters rose very quickly overnight in Palestine, Texas but the water became too deep for swift water rescues, said the fire chief
Under water: One woman recalled leaving a bar called The Shelton Gin in East Texas as it was beginning to fill with rain water
That was some total craziness now that it is all sinking in. Wow! Now I can’t sleep! Wide awake thinking about what could have happened! Geesh!,’ wrote Rebecca Longcrier Pue on her Facebook page about the bar
Aftermath: Pictured here is an Old Palenstine, Texas business destroyed by the flood that shocked the state
One woman recalled leaving a bar called The Shelton Gin in East Texas as it was beginning to fill with rain water.
‘This was a few minutes before we left the gin. It was totally crazy. I have never seen water rise that fast. What a crazy night. We lost some cars, my truck, and a some really cool businesses in the holler. We all made it out. Wow. That was some total craziness now that it is all sinking in. Wow! Now I can’t sleep! Wide awake thinking about what could have happened! Geesh!,’ wrote Rebecca Longcrier Pue on her Facebook page along with a photo of the flooded bar.
The flooding was the result of a storm that hit the South and the Plains on Friday through Saturday.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas until early Saturday.
A home in Fletcher, Oklahoma was also severely damaged but there were no injuries, officials said.
Tornadoes snaked across northern and eastern Texas and southern Oklahoma, causing severe damage, including fallen tree limbs and power lines that slowed first-responders.
The heavy rain in East Texas began on Friday night continuing into the morning on Saturday. At least six to 10 homes in a Palestine cul-de-sac (not pictured) were severely damaged following heavy rainfall
This shows an image taken by weather satellite GOES East of severe weather in the Southern states
A suspected tornado came through the area Friday night in Lindale, Texas
Stella Quintero, 6, sits on the sidewalk collecting fallen leaves in front of her home in the Woodlands neighborhood of Lindale, Texas Saturday
Neighbors Mary Anderson, left, and Jennifer Casebeer, right, embrace Saturday after a suspected tornado hit both their homes in Lindale, Texas