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ARLINGTON, Texas — The remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine swept northward through Texas and into Oklahoma on Wednesday, forcing more than 100 high-water rescues, swamping city neighborhoods, spawning tornadoes and killing at least two people.
Hermine packed a relatively light punch when it made landfall Monday night, and many residents said they felt unprepared for Wednesday’s sudden flooding.
In Arlington, a suburb 22 miles west of Dallas, 67-year-old retiree George Lowe said he and his wife, Laura, were surprised by how quickly and badly their neighborhood flooded. Water reached up to 5 feet high in some homes — many just a single story — laying waste to belongings. Quilts and artwork hung dripping and ruined on walls, and couches and furniture lay overturned on sodden, muddy floors.
“Did you ever see a refrigerator floating around your kitchen before?” Lowe asked.
One twister slammed a tractor-trailer rig into a brick paint warehouse, causing the building to topple onto the cab and leaving the driver with minor injuries. Officials say at least four buildings in the area were damaged.
Bryan Burns, 25, of Irving, who works for a wrecker service, was on his way home when he saw a tornado touch down and then came across the tractor-trailer that was smashed into the warehouse. Burns said that he took a crowbar, and with the help of other passers-by, helped the man out of the truck. He said the driver had some cuts and bruises.
“It goes to show you people can endure horrible things and walk away,” Burns said.
“We’re extremely lucky. A lot of businesses in this area allowed their employees to go home early, which helps,” Evans said.
Flash flooding further south endangered motorists, killing at least two.
Near Alvarado, 20 miles south of Arlington, fifteen rescuers tried to save a 49-year-old man who apparently drove his pickup truck into a low-water crossing. One rescuer got to within 50 feet of the man but couldn’t proceed further because it was too dangerous, Alvarado fire Chief Richard Van Winkle said. The man’s body was found hours later after the waters receded.
“This will weigh on us for a long time,” Van Winkle said. “We’re here to help, and when we can’t do that, it’s bad.”
In Johnson County, where Alvarado is located, the sheriff’s department took about 60 calls for high-water rescues, Capt. Mike Gilbert said.
Van Winkle said his department evacuated more than a dozen people from flooded homes. “This is about as bad as I’ve seen it, and I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” he said.
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