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Latest on flooding: Obama signs Texas disaster declaration

Alaena Tate, a member of a search and rescue team, looks through debris for people who were still missing after heavy flooding Wednesday, May 27, 2015, around Umphery Ranch located between Wimberley and San Marcos, Texas. The search went on for about a dozen people, including a group that disappeared after a vacation home was swept down a river and slammed into a bridge. (Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT; TV OUT

11:30 p.m. (CDT)

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Texas after severe flooding this week.

The White House said Obama declared that he ordered federal aid to supplement other recovery efforts in the area affected by severe weather since May 4.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier requested a presidential disaster declaration to get federal help for the counties affected.

Obama’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Harris, Hays, and Van Zandt counties.

Funding also is available to governments and some nonprofits on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and repairs in Cooke, Gaines, Grimes, Harris, Hays, Navarro, and Van Zandt counties.

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9:35 p.m. (CDT)

Officials in a Texas city about 35 miles southwest of Houston have ordered the evacuation of about 50 flood-threatened homes near the Brazos River.

The city of Rosenberg says the mandatory evacuation took effect at 9 p.m. CDT on Friday. Residents in the affected homes will not be allowed to re-enter the evacuated area until it is deemed safe to return.

A Red Cross shelter in the nearby city of Richmond has been set up for residents.

The river was expected to crest at 50 feet by Sunday. Late Friday evening, the river was just above its flood stage of 48 feet.

Residents in about 30 homes in Wharton, about 25 miles southwest of Rosenberg, were also ordered to evacuate Friday due to the rising Colorado River.

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9:10 p.m. (CDT)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested a presidential disaster declaration to get federal help for counties affected by severe weather.

Abbott is requesting individual assistance for Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties. Harris is home to Houston, which experienced severe flooding this week. In Hays County, deadly flooding killed six people, with six others still missing. Such assistance will provide residents and businesses with access to disaster housing, grants and low-interest loans.

Abbott is requesting public assistance for Cooke, Gaines, Grimes, Harris, Hays, Navarro and Van Zandt counties. Such assistance will help officials pay part of the costs of rebuilding a community’s damaged infrastructure, which could include debris removal and emergency protective measures.

Other counties could later be added to the request.

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8:35 p.m. (CDT)

Another victim of deadly storms and flooding in Texas has been identified by authorities.

Officials Friday evening identified 73-year-old Ralph Hugh Carey as one of the six people who died in Hays County in Central Texas.

Carey’s body was recovered Thursday from a brushy area near the Blanco River in San Marcos. He had last been seen in Wimberley, located 15 miles northwest of San Marcos.

Authorities have identified five of the six bodies found in Hays County. Six people are still listed as missing in Hays County.

Earlier Friday, authorities identified the body of 6-year-old Jonathan Andrew McComb, who was in a vacation home in Wimberley that was swept away by rushing waters.

In Texas, 24 have been killed by the deadly storms, with four more in Oklahoma.

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8 p.m. (CDT)

The body of another victim of deadly storms has been found by authorities, bringing the death toll of those killed in Texas to 24.

Meanwhile, authorities have identified the body of a 6-year-old boy who was in a vacation home swept away by rushing water.

Trey Hatt, spokesman for the Hays County Emergency Operations Center, says the body was found Thursday evening near the border of Hays and Blanco counties.

On Friday, medical examiners identified Jonathan Andrew McComb, who along with his family had been staying in a home in Wimberley, about 35 miles southwest of Austin. The home was knocked off its foundation and carried down the raging Blanco River Sunday. Andrew’s mother and 4-year-old sister are still missing.

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6:20 p.m. (CDT)

The number of homes ordered evacuated in the Southeast Texas city of Wharton due to the rising Colorado River has been reduced to 30.

Officials in Wharton, 60 miles southwest of Houston, initially included 300 homes as part of a voluntary evacuation.

On Friday, the evacuation was made mandatory, but Mayor Domingo Montalvo Jr. says officials narrowed down the number of homes to an area that tends to flood the most.

Montalvo ordered those homes evacuated by 5:30 p.m. Friday.

The river is expected to crest at just over 43 feet on Saturday morning. That will likely lead to flooding on several residential streets in low-lying areas of the city of about 8,500 residents.

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5:30 p.m. (CDT)

Forecasters say Texas has set rainfall records in several areas after deadly storms.

The National Weather Service said Friday that 16.07 inches of rain fell across the Dallas area in May. That easily eclipsed a 1982 record of 13.66. Austin similarly beat its May record for rainfall with 17.59 inches, besting a high of 14.10 inches that had stood since 1895.

Meteorologist Dennis Cain in Dallas says other areas have set all-time recorded highs, such as Gainesville, near the Oklahoma border, and Corpus Christi, along the Gulf of Mexico. Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle is in its second-wettest month on record.

A series of spring storms has killed at least 27 people in Texas and Oklahoma. There are at least 13 people missing in Texas.

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4:30 p.m. (CDT)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has issued disaster declarations for five counties hit hard by recent storms and flooding.

Hutchinson toured flooded parts of the state on Friday. On his return to Little Rock, he applauded first-responders.

Arkansas highway officials have closed a pair of roads in southwestern Arkansas because of flooding, and the Pig Trail Scenic Byway is closed north of Cass because part of the roadway has washed away.

Much of the state is on alert for high water, and the Storm Prediction Center posted a tornado watch for western Arkansas and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and Missouri until 7 p.m.

The city of Little Rock closed paths near the Two Rivers Park. An advisory said even snakes could be seeking higher ground.

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4:15 p.m. (CDT)

The mayor of a city about 60 miles southwest of Houston has ordered the evacuation of about 300 flood-threatened homes near the Colorado River.

Paula Favors, a spokeswoman for the city of Wharton, says the mayor ordered those homes evacuated by 5:30 p.m. Friday. She says many residents had already left when the evacuation was voluntary.

The river is expected to crest in the area at just over 43 feet on Saturday morning. Favors says that would likely flood several residential streets in low-lying areas of Wharton, a city of about 8,500 residents.

A shelter opened for residents only had seven people Thursday evening, but Favors says officials expect that figure to increase with the mandatory evacuation.

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3:20 p.m. (CDT)

The Coast Guard has called off the search for a 51-year-old fisherman who was swept away by rapid river currents, bringing total number of people killed in Texas by recent storms and flooding to at least 23.

The Coast Guard says the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found a body on a Southeast Texas beach on Friday that matched the description of the missing man. He and two other men were fishing in the Brazos River on Thursday when they were caught in the currents.

The other men managed to escape. The dead man’s name hasn’t been released.

Recent storms have caused widespread flooding across the southern Plains and claimed at least 27 lives, including four in Oklahoma. At least 13 people remain missing in Texas.

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3:05 p.m. (CDT)

Authorities have closed several miles of a busy Dallas highway that became flooded, trapping motorists for hours.

Overnight rain caused water to pool under an overpass on Loop 12 northwest of downtown Dallas on Friday morning, stranding morning commuters. All trapped motorists were finally able to drive off after a crane removed a section of median.

Tony Hartzel, a Department of Transportation spokesman, says the section of highway will remain closed until the water recedes and it is deemed safe.

Recent storms have caused widespread flooding in the southern Plains and have killed at least 22 people in Texas and four others in Oklahoma. About a dozen people remain missing in Texas.

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2:30 p.m. (CDT)

A suburban Dallas police officer had to be rescued by helicopter after his SUV got trapped in rushing floodwaters while he was diverting traffic.

Sachse police spokesman Lt. Martin Cassidy says the rising floodwaters surrounded the officer Friday morning as he was directing traffic away from it.

He was stuck for about two hours. Dive teams first tried to get him out, but couldn’t reach him. Eventually, a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter came to the rescue. He was harnessed and then lifted out of the water. He was carried high above the waters.

Sachse is about 20 miles northeast of Dallas.

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2:15 p.m. (CDT)

Forecasters say storms may dump more rain this weekend on areas of Texas that are dealing with major flooding.

The National Weather Service said Friday that there’s up to a 70 percent chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms in the Houston area from Saturday afternoon into Sunday. One to 3 inches of rain is expected, on average, but up to 6 inches could fall in some places.

There is up to a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms during that time in the Austin and San Antonio area, with 1 to 2 inches of rain likely.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the high chances of rain returns Friday night, with a 60 percent chance running through Saturday night. As much as 1

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