UPDATED 9:30 p.m. EDT: The death toll rose to six late Saturday after tornadoes tore through La Porte and Friendswood, near Houston, Reuters reported.
At least five people died in a sudden deluge of rain from severe storms that inundated central Texas Friday and sloshed eastward Saturday. The victims were caught in swift downpours near three of Texas’ largest cities: Houston, San Antonio and Austin.
Storms continued to batter the state’s soaked midsection on Saturday, though began to show signs of subsiding in early evening. As trick-or-treaters determinedly set out to fill their pails with candy despite the gloomy weather, officials warned them to avoid ditches and bayous as danger lingered.
During the downpour, residents scrambled to higher ground or sought safety at emergency shelters. The Houston Fire Department had conducted 130 rescues for people stranded by high waters by Saturday afternoon. Police reported that several people were still missing in the affected areas.
— Cathy Hernandez (@ReporterCathy) October 31, 2015
Some communities in the storm’s path reported nearly a foot of rain in a day. On Saturday morning, six inches fell in a single hour at the Austin-Bergstrom international Airport, according to the National Weather Service in San Antonio. The airport temporarily suspended flights when floodwaters breached the ground floor of the air traffic control tower.
— NWSHouston (@NWSHouston) October 31, 2015
On Saturday afternoon, city officials in Houston counted 132 places where streets were flooded and 44 structures that had been breached by rising waters. Near Houston, the storm also spawned several tornadoes that inflicted structural damage on dozens of homes.
— NWS San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) October 31, 2015
All five of the storm victims that police presume dead were killed by surging waterways rather than tornadoes. One died when his vehicle was caught in torrents of water flowing over streets near Austin, ABC News reports. His passengers survived.
The downpour relented in San Antonio on Saturday afternoon, but rain continued to pound parts of Houston and residents across the state felt its lasting impact.