Deadly weather soaks south central U.S., forces evacuations

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Oklahoma, Texas Expecting More Rain Amid Treacherous Floods

Flash flooding and severe storms in Texas forced evacuations, submerged roads and left thousands without power on Sunday, after an Oklahoma firefighter was swept into a storm drain during an overnight rescue effort and died.

The National Weather Service reported river flooding across southern Oklahoma and central Texas, where six to nine inches of rain fell overnight. The severe weather was moving into Arkansas, Kurt Van Speybroeck, a NWS meteorologist based in Fort Worth, Texas, said.

"They haven't seen flooding like this for probably a good decade, probably more like 25 years, even longer, on some of these rivers," he said, noting that soil in the region is saturated from heavy rainfall over the past three weeks.

"We just can't take any more water," he said.

Evacuations were ordered in parts of Montgomery County, Texas, north of Houston.

Helicopters were used to rescue people off rooftops in Hays County around the central Texas region known as the Hill Country.

More than 1,000 people were rescued or evacuated from 400 homes, county officials reported on Sunday morning.

"Never in our wildest imagining did we think about the wall of water that would some so quickly or cause so much destruction," said Judge Bert Cobb, the top elected official in Hays County, at a news conference.

The county, which includes the small cities of Wimberley and San Marcos, located about an hour's drive north of San Antonio, ordered a Sunday night curfew for residents.

In nearby Luling, Texas, the rising San Marcos River threatened to flood homes, a state park and a golf course, NWS in Austin-San Antonio reported.

In Oklahoma, also seeing weekend flooding, a firefighter died overnight in Claremore, about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa.

Captain Jason Farley, a 20-year veteran of the department, had been responding to a call to help about 10 people trapped in their homes by rising floodwater, said Claremore Fire Chief Sean Douglas.

Another firefighter who rushed to his aid was also swept into the storm drain but survived with minor injuries, he said.

"It is a tragic event and a devastating loss for us," Douglas said. "It will be hard to cope."

In central Texas officials warned that severe flooding from the Blanco River threatened closures of a major highway between San Antonio and Austin, the Texas Department of Transportation said.

Dozens of local streets were closed, and the Red Cross had opened shelters.

SEE MORE: Photos from tornado damage in Texas

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Weather - south dakota, texas, carolinas, arkansas - tornado, tornadoes
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Deadly weather soaks south central U.S., forces evacuations
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Residents walk along storm damage along Pennsylvania Street after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Downed tree and debris from Van, Texas is scattered around the town Monday, May 11, 2015, after severe weather pushed through the area in the early morning hours. Emergency responders searched through splintered wreckage Monday after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities in Texas and Arkansas, killing at least five people. (AP Photos/Todd Yates)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Residents and volunteers walk over downed power lines along storm damaged Pennsylvania Street after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: A storm damaged home on Pennsylvania Street is seen after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

David and Brenda Tapley were killed in the tornado that hit Van, Texas on Sunday and when family members searched through the wreckage on Tuesday, they found the family bible lying in the rubble open to a very special page.

Debris is tangled up in power lines around the Van, Texas, area after severe weather moved through the area Monday, May 11, 2015. Emergency responders searched through splintered wreckage Monday after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities in Texas and Arkansas, killing at least five people. (AP Photos/Todd Yates)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: An uprooted tree lies on a playground near J.E. Rhodes Elementary School after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: David Hopkins (L) clears debris as his brother Michael Hopkins (2nd L) surveys damage from the roof of his home after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Downed tree and debris from Van, Texas is scattered around the town Monday, May 11, 2015, after severe weather pushed through the area in the early morning hours. Emergency responders searched through splintered wreckage Monday after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities in Texas and Arkansas, killing at least five people. (AP Photos/Todd Yates)
Dozens of Van, Texas, residents walk around the intermediate and elementary schools campuses as they survey the damage from Monday, May 11, 2015 severe weather that moved through the area in the early morning hours. Emergency responders searched through splintered wreckage Monday after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities in Texas and Arkansas, killing at least five people. (AP Photos/Todd Yates)
Residents of Van, Texas, residents walk around the intermediate and elementary schools campuses as they survey the damage from Monday, May 11, 2015 severe weather that moved through the area in the early morning hours. Emergency responders searched through splintered wreckage Monday after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities in Texas and Arkansas, killing at least five people. (AP Photos/Todd Yates)
Van is looking rough this morning. Still waiting to hear details but I've heard there were casualties. Please continue to pray. This is a trampoline.
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Residents clear downed trees from storm damage along Pennsylvania Street after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Residents survey storm damage near Pennsylvania Street after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Residents walk past a damaged house on storm ravaged Pennsylvania Street after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: A house sits severely damaged with downed on Pennsylvania Street after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: David Hopkins clears debris from the storm damaged roof of his brother's home after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Brenda Cole (L) and Andrew Cole survey the damage of the their home and garage after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Barbara Brown of Van, Texas rests against a wall outside a Red Cross Shelter with a dog named Cujo, at the First Baptist Church after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Volunteers and officials search through the destruction near Van Intermediate School after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Volunteers and officials search through the destruction near Van Intermediate School after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Residents survey damage near an elementary school, caused by severe weather, Monday, May 11, 2015, in Van, Texas. About 30 percent of the community was damaged from the storm late Sunday, according to Chuck Allen, fire marshal and emergency management coordinator for Van Zandt County. (AP Photo/Todd Yates)
Grace Santo, 14, holds hands with her mother, Vista, right, as they survey severe weather damage at an elementary school, Monday, May 11, 2015, in Van, Texas. About 30 percent of the community was damaged from the storm late Sunday, according to Chuck Allen, fire marshal and emergency management coordinator for Van Zandt County. (AP Photo/Todd Yates)
Residents survey damage to an elementary school caused by severe weather, Monday, May 11, 2015, in Van, Texas. About 30 percent of the community was damaged from the storm late Sunday, according to Chuck Allen, fire marshal and emergency management coordinator for Van Zandt County. (AP Photo/Todd Yates)
A vehicle sits damaged under downed trees from severe weather, Monday, May 11, 2015, in Van, Texas. About 30 percent of the community was damaged from the storm late Sunday, according to Chuck Allen, fire marshal and emergency management coordinator for Van Zandt County. (AP Photo/Todd Yates)
Residents survey damage near an elementary school, caused by severe weather, Monday, May 11, 2015, in Van, Texas. About 30 percent of the community was damaged from the storm late Sunday, according to Chuck Allen, fire marshal and emergency management coordinator for Van Zandt County. (AP Photo/Todd Yates)
Map locates Van, Texas and Nashville Arkansas where tornadoes were responsible for at least five deaths; 1c x 2 1/4 inches; 46.5 mm x 57 mm;
A street sign at the intersection of Hwy 377 and Mosscreek Drive lies on the ground after a possible tornado touched down in the Bent Creek Estates neighborhood in Denton, Texas, on Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Mark Johnston helps his friend Jason Farris put his fence back up after a possible tornado touched down in their neighborhood in Denton, Texas, on Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Jason Olsen clears a downed tree blocking his driveway after a possible tornado touched down in his neighborhood in Denton, Texas, on Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
News crews are out covering the devastation. #tornado #van
Cars destroyed by #VanTornado in Texas. 10 people unaccounted for #FoxNews http://t.co/16CW8mPATX
First tornado caught in Eads, Colorado. Perfect set up! Caught 4 different tornadoes from this storm! #tornado #severeweather #colorado
Third larger tornado caught in Eads, Colorado. Perfect set up! Caught 4 different tornadoes from this storm! #tornado #severeweather #colorado
#tornado #texas #ciscotexas #i20 #crazy
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