Flooding fears ease as relentless Texas storms move out

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Relentless showers soaking Texas began finally clearing Sunday as dangerous flood warnings expired and the remnants of Hurricane Patricia continued dissolving into a steady but manageable drizzle.

More than a foot of rain has drenched parts of Texas since Friday, shutting down busy highways and derailing a train. Authorities said one man is missing after being swept away by floodwaters near San Antonio, but that no deaths or major destruction have been confirmed in the biggest deluge in Texas since torrential spring rains washed away homes and killed dozens.

Patricia and a separate storm system dumped roughly nine inches of rain around downtown Houston, but forecasters expected the last band of showers to begin leaving Sunday afternoon. Near Austin, the soaking helped firefighters contain the last of a long-simmering wildfire that had burned 7 square miles and destroyed nearly 70 homes.

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Flooding fears ease as relentless Texas storms move out
A driver attempts to navigate through high water on Northwest Highway during a heavy rain fall Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Dallas. The driver who was unharmed, abandoned the vehicle on the road when emergency responders arrived. Emergency management officials in Texas contending with multiple storm systems are preparing for heavy rains to continue through the weekend and widespread flooding that may follow. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A Dalls Fire Rescue responder makes his way over to a stalled vehicle to check on the driver still inside on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Dallas. The vehicle stalled after the road quickly flooded during a heavy rain fall. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Workers stand in a flooded turn during a delay in the second practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The session was called off by officials due to inclement weather. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A 911 location marker sits on a flooded bike and walking path by White Rock Lake after heavy rain fall soaked the region Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Dallas. Residents braced for more rain this weekend from other storms that could spin off from massive Hurricane Patricia approaching southwest Mexico. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Drivers navigate through flood waters along Hillcrest Road during a heavy rain fall, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A driver maneuvers past barricades through high flood water along Hillcrest road during a heavy rain fall, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A bicycle and walking path is flooded by White Rock Lake after heavy rain fall soaked the region Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Dallas. Residents braced for more rain this weekend from other storms that could spin off from massive Hurricane Patricia approaching southwest Mexico. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A Sheriff's vehicle on U.S. 380 goes over Lake Bridgeport, with the lake level hitting the bottom of the bridge as areas flood around Bridgeport, Texas, on Saturday, May 30, 2015. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
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Parched forestland from a hot and dry summer fueled the blaze, but meteorologists say that long stretch of sweltering weather also helped avoid a repeat of devastating floods that walloped Texas over Memorial Day.

"We had much drier grounds that could handle more of the rainfall and soak it in," National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Overpeck said. "We had drought conditions we were dealing with."

Patricia was the most powerful hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere and made landfall Friday along Mexico's Pacific Coast as a Category 5 storm. It quickly lost power as it moved inland and appeared to have caused remarkably little damage.

Overnight rains revealed flooded bayous around Houston by Sunday morning but closed roadways began reopening. In Austin, a Formula One championship that attracts racing fans from across the globe was set to do both qualifying laps and the race Sunday after getting washed out most of the weekend.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry had issued a voluntary evacuation Saturday for Bolivar Peninsula, just northeast of Galveston Island, after forecasters predicted the area would get up to a foot of rain and tides 4 to 5 feet high. But county spokeswoman Brittany Rainville said officials did not expect many of the 4,000 people there to evacuate their homes.

"People just know not to get out and drive anywhere," said Bryan Brawner, who owns a charter company on the peninsula that takes people fishing in the Galveston Bay.

On Saturday, a Union Pacific freight train derailed before dawn Saturday near Corsicana, about 50 miles south of Dallas, because a creek overflowed and washed away the tracks, said Jeff DeGraff, a railroad spokesman. The two crew members swam to safety and nobody was hurt, he said.

One locomotive and several rail cars loaded with gravel went into the water and were partly submerged, DeGraff said.

In San Antonio, a man walking his dog before dawn Saturday was swept into a flooded drainage ditch and disappeared, fire officials said. The dog is safe.

Authorities on Saturday morning reopened a section of Interstate 45 near Corsicana that was closed due to flooding, backing up traffic for 12 miles.

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