Death toll rising from Hermine flooding

Visitors to Salado, Texas, snap photos of a submerged truck under the Main Street bridge. The remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine caused widespread flooding in northern Texas.

Associated Press

Visitors to Salado, Texas, snap photos of a submerged truck under the Main Street bridge. The remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine caused widespread flooding in northern Texas.

SAN ANTONIO — The death toll from flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine climbed Thursday after Texas authorities recovered the body of a missing swimmer and an Oklahoma driver drowned trying to cross a swollen creek.

At least four people have died in Hermine-fueled flooding, and two other people were still missing.

Authorities near San Antonio recovered the body of Derek Joel-Nelson Clemens, 23, who along with a friend was swept away while swimming in the Guadalupe River. Crews were searching for his friend Thursday but held dim hopes of finding his friend alive.

Both disappeared Wednesday as flash floods fueled by the storm hit parts of Texas before the rain moved into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. The flooding has killed at least two motorists in Texas and others are still missing.

Hermine has forced more than 100 high-water rescues, though not all were successful.

Some of the state's most intense flooding occurred in low-lying pockets of Arlington, a suburb 22 miles west of Dallas.

There was widespread flooding in eastern Oklahoma, where more than 10 inches of rain in some areas forced the closure of several roads. No injuries were reported.

In northwest Arkansas, the storm dropped 3 to 5 inches of rain before moving east.

La Niña threat

La Niña climate phenomenon is strengthening, increasing the likelihood that an active hurricane season could get even busier, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned Thursday.

La Niña is marked by a cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean and was reported to be developing a month ago. It strengthened throughout August and appears likely to last at least through early 2011, NOAA's Climate Prediction Service said.

"La Niña can contribute to increased Atlantic hurricane activity by decreasing the vertical wind shear over the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean," the center said.

Igor weakens

Former Tropical Storm Igor weakened to a tropical depression drifting far out in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa near the Cape Verde Islands. Maximum sustained winds for the storm Thursday are near 35 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm could begin strengthening some today.

Death toll rising from Hermine flooding 09/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 12:32am]

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