Hermine Surprises Texas, Oklahoma with Extensive Flooding

September 9, 2010

Tropical Storm Hermine, which swept through Texas on Sept. 7 and into Oklahoma on Sept. 8, surprised forecasters by retaining tropical storm strength long after it was expected to decline. The storm resulted in extensive flooding, several funnel cloud sightings in Central Texas, at least one tornado in the Dallas area and at least one reported death.

Rainfall amounts in excess of one foot over many portions of South and Central Texas created a torrent of flood claims from residents and business owners, according to the Insurance Council of Texas. San Antonio, Austin and Killeen were hit exceptionally hard with record rainfall amounts from Tropical Storm Hermine. A tornado was reported to have touched down in Dallas, near Mockingbird Lane.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the southern plains in the Midwest and the Ozarks could still experience flooding today from the remnants of Hermine. Flood advisories were in effect for eastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas and eastward into Missouri and northern Arkansas.

The Associated Press reported that the storm brought winds gusting to about 70 mph and downpours to Texas but left only minor scrapes in the storm-weary Rio Grande Valley, which is proving resilient this hurricane season after taking a third tropical system on the chin.

The storm struck the flood-prone valley just after the cleanup finished from Hurricane Alex at the start of the summer and an unnamed tropical depression in July. Only last week had Hidalgo County on the U.S.-Mexico border stowed its last water pump.

Weather forecasters had predicted that the storm could dump as much as 12 inches of rain in some areas. More than 15 inches of rain fell in Georgetown, Texas, as the storm made its way north, according to the NHC. The Austin American Statesman reported that at least one death in Killeen, Texas, is attributed to the storm.

The ICT advised those affected by the storm to report claims immediately to their insurance agents or companies to start the process of determining the amount of damage and begin clean-up operations. Homeowners and business owners should document their damage and begin making temporary repairs to prevent further damage if possible.

Flood insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides federally backed protection against flood losses. Insurance agents both sell and service the policies. Persons with flood claims should contact their agent who will in turn notify insurance adjusters to verify and document the damage.

Flood claims come with a deductible and provide coverage for contents up to $250,000. Approximately 700,000 Texans carry flood insurance coverage with total liability close to $150 billion. A flood insurance policy takes effect 30 days after purchase.

Associated Press reports contributed to this story.

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