July 8, 2007
Search resumes for rafter in Fort Worth; rain falls elsewhere
By PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press Writer (c) 2007 The Associated Press
DALLAS - Rain returned to parts of sopped Texas on Sunday as a third day of searching began for a missing rafter who capsized on the rain-swollen Trinity River. But despite more showers, forecasters said the rainfall lacked the intensity of storms that have flooded the state since June, and the heavy drenching that is blamed for at least 16 deaths appears to be over for now.
"It will be more heat-related things that will make it rain," said Robert Blaha, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It will be more disorganized." In Fort Worth, divers resumed looking for a 26-year-old man missing since his raft flipped Friday on a swift-moving part of the Trinity. Rescue teams have shifted their search from a rescue mission to a recovery, Fort Worth fire department spokesman Kent Worley said. He described the man and a 23-year-old companion, who swam upstream to safety, as inexperienced rafters who "made a major mistake" by venturing on the elevated river. Neither men wore a life jacket.
"The water has gone down, but it's still fairly swift. It's still fairly rapid," Worley said. "At this point, it's going up and down the banks and waiting to see of anything turns up." The discovery came as most of Texas enjoyed a break from the soaking rain that has pounded the state for nearly three weeks. While much of the West has been parched under record temperatures and drought, Gov. Rick Perry has issued state disaster declarations for 44 counties, with President Bush declaring six of those federal disaster sites. By Saturday, the upper level low pressure system that was stalled over central and eastern Texas for much of the past week had moved off into the southeastern part of the country. While the worst weather appears at least temporarily over, Blaha said the eastern part of Texas will likely remain vulnerable to slow-moving, moderate showers. Steady rains in East Texas have ravaged roads and eroded chunks of asphalt across the region.
Associated Press Writers Jeff Carlton in Dallas and Juan A. Lozano in Houston contributed to this report. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/4950612.html