Evacuation ordered in Texas over dam - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Evacuation ordered in Texas over dam

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Posted: Friday, August 4, 2006 4:28 am | Updated: 3:41 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

EL PASO, Texas - Authorities monitored a rain-swollen Rio Grande River on Friday as it threatened to punch through an earthen dam and cause flooding in El Paso.

The possibility of a breach of the 30-year-old dam across the border in Mexico prompted officials to issue evacuation orders for residents on Thursday. Up to 6 million gallons of water could rush into the city, Mayor John Cook said.

"We're talking like a tidal wave hitting El Paso," Cook said.

Between 1,500 to 2,000 people were asked to evacuate and city buses transported those who wanted to leave.

A deluge Thursday morning dumped about 1.14 inches of rain, most of which fell in about an hour, and a later downpour caused water to pool on streets.

As of early Friday, no more rain had fallen and the dam remained intact, said El Paso police Officer Michael Hernandez. After torrential flooding this week, the National Weather Service predicted a 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms for Friday.

The El Paso area has received more than 8 1/2 inches of rain this year, almost all of it this week.

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