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Tropical Storm Fay Strikes South Texas

Written by Mason Anderson, Staff Writer,

September 9, 2002 — The American Red Cross is assisting residents after Tropical Storm Fay struck Texas Saturday (Sept. 7), dumping heavy rains across southern counties and triggering at least two tornadoes. Initial assessments show more than 400 homes sustained damages in Brazoria and Matagorda counties, where up to 12 inches of rain were registered.

In July, much of San Antonio and its surrounding regions were inundated after 30 inches of rain fell in just three days.

“The situation is still developing,” said Bob Howard, public affairs officer for the American Red Cross disaster response, monitoring the situation in Bay City, Matagorda County. “We can’t do a complete damage assessment because we are still under flood watch, plus Fay is still moving inland and flooding regions all the way to San Antonio.”

Tropical storm Fay struck the Texas coast early Saturday morning near Matagorda, just southwest of Houston. At the time of landfall, sustained winds reached 60 mph.

However, as Fay moved inland it weakened and by Sunday was reclassified as a tropical depression.

Despite the storm’s weakening, it continued to batter inland Texas through Monday as it churned towards San Antonio. At least two tornadoes spawned from the storm system, primarily in Wharton County. Although several homes suffered minor damages, no injuries were reported.

Since Friday, three American Red Cross shelters were opened for evacuated residents and more remained on stand-by as rain continued to pound the region Monday.

Flood watches remained in affect Monday across much of south Texas and the Hill Country, where more than 8 inches of rain has fallen since Saturday. Isolated locations were expected to receive as much as 4 more inches, prompting weather officials to issue flash flood warnings along the Nueces, Frio, Medina and San Antonio Rivers in south central Texas.

“Because the situation is still developing, the disaster is still in the emergency phase,” said Howard. “Right now it’s a waiting game to see what will happen over the next 24 hours.”

For San Antonio, the remnants of Fay could mean more hardship for residents just recovering from July’s severe floods. In just three days, more than 30 inches of rain fell on the region, inundating 15 counties.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. You can make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives.

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