Storms, tornadoes lash Texas; death toll rises to 5

Another round of storms and strong winds moved east across Texas on Saturday, with three radar-confirmed tornadoes damaging homes and causing injuries in the Houston area.

Houston: Another band of strong storms and heavy rain spawned three tornadoes and dangerous flooding in east Texas on Saturday, with the death toll rising to five after Houston police found two more bodies.

It's the second day of turbulent weather in the state, where at least three people died Friday in flood waters in central Texas.

Another person is still missing in the Austin area. The storms and suspected tornadoes, which forecasters say were caused by an upper-level disturbance from Mexico, socked an already-sodden swath of Texas that was still drying out from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.

In the Houston area, up to 8 inches of rain fell since last night, though it had mostly stopped by this afternoon.

The water, however, flooded streets and freeway frontage roads and caused bayous to spill over their banks. The Houston Fire Department said it had responded to more than 90 water rescues by midmorning Saturday, and some public light-rail and bus transportation was suspended.

Houston police discovered the two bodies that are believed to be weather-related deaths, one in a flooded ditch and another in a wooded area where there had been high water, according to city spokesman Michael Walter.

As the storms moved east today, National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Blood said a tornado went through Brazoria County near Alvin about 5 am, injuring at least two people and damaging about 25 mobile homes in the community that's 48 kilometres south of Houston.

Thirty minutes later, a tornado hit the Houston suburb of Friendswood, where about 30 homes had minor damage and the roof of one home was ripped off.

Between 10 and 30 homes were damaged by a tornado in a subdivision in eastern Harris County at about 7 am today, Blood said.

Austin, San Antonio and surrounding areas were first hit Friday. Three people died when they were swept away by flood waters; a woman is still missing after waters reached her home in the Austin area.

The third death was confirmed Saturday morning, when officials found the body of a man whose vehicle was swept away Friday southeast of Austin, Travis County Emergency Services spokeswoman Lisa Block. Other passengers in the vehicle were able to escape, but the man did not.

More than 40 centimetres of rain soaked one neighborhood on Friday and Austin Bergstrom International Airport suspended all flights after 15 centimetres of water flooded the air traffic control tower; 40 flights were canceled there today.