SAN ANTONIO — Torrential rains swamped San Antonio with flash floods on Saturday, leaving at least one person dead as emergency workers in boats rushed to rescue more than 200 residents stranded in cars and homes.
"It was pretty crazy," said Gera Hinojosa, a valet parking cars downtown after the storm. "It was pretty unexpected. We hardly got any warning about it."
For one woman, the storm turned fatal rapidly: Trapped in her car, she climbed to the roof but was swept away in floodwaters, said San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove. Her body was later found against a fence, he said. Her name was not immediately released.
Authorities were searching for at least two other people — one who went missing after being trapped in another car and a teenage boy who was swept away while trying to cross the swollen Cibolow Creek in suburban Schertz.
The Fire Department conducted more than 235 rescues across the city, some by inflatable boats, authorities said. They continued their search into the evening.
"We'll be out there as long as daylight permits and again in the morning if the water recedes," San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said, adding that going into floodwaters was more dangerous for firefighters than entering a burning building.
By nightfall, water still pooled in ditches and underpasses. Several roadways were closed, including a major highway that links the suburbs and the city.
But even in low-lying neighborhoods along Commerce Street east of downtown — a faded stretch of clapboard houses and beauty parlors — yards were clear. In the tourist district around the River Walk, the streets were thick with weekend revelers.
While the water in some homes rose 4 feet high, according to Bove, most residents experienced the floods primarily as a major traffic hassle. Karen Herring, 50, who spent the day volunteering at a fitness contest at the AT&T Center, said participants complained of three-hour drives across town.