A Texas grandmother and four of her young grandkids were killed early Saturday as heavy flooding battered the state. Rescue teams in the city of Palestine found five bodies, a 64-year-old woman and four children, ages 6, 7, 8 and 9 near a home that had been damaged by the racing flood waters, Palestine Police Capt. James Muniz said.
Family identified the grandmother as 62-year-old Lenda Asberry and her grandchildren as 9-year-old Voniyaejah Johnson, 8-year-old Devonte Johnson, 7-year-old Von Anthony Watkins, and 6-year-old and Jamonica Johnson.
Police have not confirmed the victims’ identities. Between six and 10 homes on a single block were heavily damaged when a local creek overflowed following heavy rainfall over the course of just a few minutes after midnight
“With the enormous amount of rain we had, we had people tell us that within minutes, the water was waist deep,” Muniz said.
All other residents on the damaged Palestine cul-de-sac were accounted for, he said. City officials used a dump truck to rescue one man from the roof of a home, Muniz said.
Merta White, who climbed onto the roof of her home from the porch, was yelling for help when she saw a “bump” float by in the water.”I thought it was a mailbox, but then I realized what it really was, and I started screaming,” she told the Palestine Herald-Press. Palestine is about 150 miles north of Houston, which was slammed with massive flooding of its own earlier this month
Photo: Melissa Phillip/AP
Emergency personnel carry a woman from a rescue boat as people are evacuated from Arbor Court Apartments in Houston earlier this month.
“You see this stuff happen in Houston with flooding, but not here,” another neighbor Undra White said of the early morning flooding. “I just saw firefighters rescue a woman who was up to her face in water.”
The disastrous flooding in Palestine came as storms swept across Eastern Texas and other parts of the Gulf Coast and Great Plains Friday.
Tornados touched down in Texas and Oklahoma, weather.com reported, injuring at least two people. Heavy rain pummeled Arkansas and Mississippi Friday night, and golf ball- to grapefruit-sized hail fell across the four states.
The storm is expected to move east toward the Atlantic throughout Saturday.
Heavy rain and a few severe storms may impact the East Coast Sunday, with persistent rain falling through into Monday.