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Texas flooding claims 11 lives,and more rain expected

Weary from constant downpours that have claimed 11 lives in the last 11 days, residents of central Texas are ready for yet another deluge .

About 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain fell overnight in some areas, far short of the 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) forecast, but more was expected during the day and flash flood warnings were in effect.

Deputies in Williamson County, north of Austin, were searching for a woman and her boyfriend after their car was found abandoned near Liberty Hill, sheriff's Detective John Foster said. The car appeared to have been swept off the road by flood waters.

Almost a week of nonstop rain including 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) near Marble Falls on Wednesday morning left dozens of people stranded on rooftops, cars and in trees. No new fatalities were immediately reported.

Storms near Austin and San Antonio were expected to dump at least another 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain Thursday, and up to 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) if any of the weather systems merge, the National Weather Service said.

Early Wednesday, the downpour and winds were so treacherous that helicopters were forced to halt efforts to rescue people from rooftops in Marble Falls, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Austin. The town's mayor said some looting had been reported in flooded areas.

The Texas National Guard dispatched troops and vehicles to Central Texas, as well as other areas hit by storms from the Oklahoma border to the Rio Grande Valley. About 150 troops and 50 vehicles were mobilized.

Rain drenched North Texas as well, creating flooding along some creeks and rivers.

It is the wettest year on record in Austin, where more than 30 inches (76.2 centimeters) of rain has fallen since January, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Waco and Wichita Falls have near-records. The rainfall has more than compensated for a drought that much of Texas had been experiencing since 2005, the National Weather Service said.

Citing the bad weather, American Airlines is letting affected travelers change tickets once without a fee. Passengers on the nation's largest carrier, based in Fort Worth, can change reservations as late as July 9 for original travel dates between June 26 and July 1.

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