Updated: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 10:34:43 GMT | By Alexander Smith, NBC News contributor

Texas flash floods prompt evacuations and helicopter rescues



Heavy rain triggered flash floods near Austin, Texas, prompting helicopter rescues and forcing scores of people to evacuate their homes late Wednesday and early Thursday, officials said.

The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning at 3.30 a.m. Thursday local time, with some areas surrounding the city seeing as much as 15 inches of rain, according to Austin-Travis County’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS).

Some 88 people evacuated their homes along Brushy Creek, in Williamson County, said Jarred Thomas, spokesman for Williamson County Office for Emergency Management.

Elsewhere in Williamson County there were 13 water rescues, including three by helicopter, Thomas said.

Warren Hassinger, spokesman for Austin-Travis County EMS, said there were 15 water rescues across Austin and Travis counties, but no reported deaths and only minor injuries.

He also said there were reports from neighboring Hays and Comal Counties of people calling for help who were trapped in vehicles or clinging to trees.

The Texas Department for Public Safety said there were no firm numbers yet for the four worst affected counties of Williamson, Hays, Comel and Travis.

It said there were at least 20 homes affected in Hutto, a town of more than 18,000 in Williamson County.

The worst of the rain is over for the region, with the storm moving from west to east, according to the department.

“It will have hopefully abated by about 2 p.m. this afternoon,” a data collector at the department said.

“But the run-off is what we worry about – there’s always that danger.”

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