Texas flood damage may be near $1 billion

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

SAN ANTONIO -- With flood warnings out and more rain looming, Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that he expected losses from the deadly flooding across Texas to be near $1 billion.

"Once all these floodwaters recede, we'll see the impact," Perry said after touring a flood-damaged home in downtown San Antonio. "It's going to be substantial. This is another major, major blow to the state of Texas."

More than 30 inches of rain have fallen in the past week, sending streams and rivers pouring out of their banks from the Hill Country surrounding San Antonio to rural west Texas, more than 150 miles away.

Homes have been ripped off their foundations by the dirty brown water, and floodwaters have surged toward communities between here and the Gulf of Mexico.

The death toll Monday reached nine and at least one other person was missing. The American Red Cross said some 48,000 houses have been affected in the San Antonio and Abilene regions alone.

Meanwhile, forecasters said a storm gathering in the gulf could dump heavy rain on central and southern parts of the state already overwhelmed by too much water.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared 11 more counties disaster areas Monday, adding them to the list of 13 where residents and businesses can qualify for federal aid. FEMA said six counties were still under consideration.

Earlier Monday, the governor walked through the home of Roman and Hilda Mendoza, who were flooded out last week when rain and runoff pushed Woodlawn Lake in San Antonio over its shores and into their neighborhood. More than 100 houses were damaged in the area.

As workmen labored on the cleanup, Perry felt for moisture on the Mendozas' plasterboard walls and commiserated with them about the water-induced buckling in their hardwood floors.

Roman Mendoza said he didn't know why his house was selected, but he was happy to show the governor what happened.

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