Rivers gorged by up to 15 inches of rain ran near record levels yesterday through Texas and Mississippi, forcing 11,000 people from their homes.
Thunderstorms that had punished the Gulf Coast for a week pushed into the central Atlantic states and weakened. The death toll from last week's twisters and hail stood at 34.
In southeastern Texas, where tornadoes late last week left about 1,000 families homeless and killed 11 people, about 5,000 people had been evacuated along the San Jacinto River 35 miles northeast of Houston. The river was flooding four feet deep over a dam on Lake Houston and just half a foot below a record level reached in 1979.
Houston Lighting & Power Co. said 35,000 customers still did not have electricity. At the height of the storm, about 200,000 were without electricity.
The Pearl River at Jackson, Miss., where 5,000 people fled, was more than 10 1/2 feet above flood stage--the second highest mark in history--and climbing. An estimated 500 homes and businesses were standing in water, with waves lapping at the windows of some.
The Pearl was expected to crest at 11.5 feet above flood stage and stay there for several days.
Another 1,100 Mississippians were displaced near Columbus on the Tombigbee River in the eastern part of the state and around Vicksburg on the Mississippi, with more than 1,500 square miles inundated by the rains.
Mississippi Gov. William Winter, who cut short a trip to the Far East and toured flooded areas of Jackson yesterday, and said he would ask for federal disaster assistance. graphics/photo: Two young residents of Jackson, Miss., abandon plans to pedal down flooded street. AP