Central Texas Floods & Bridge Collapse [PHOTOS & VIDEOS]

The Llano River overran the bridge Tuesday morning

The Llano River rose to almost 40 feet Tuesday in the city of Llano - about 35 feet higher than it was just 24 hours earlier - after 8 to 10 inches of rain fell in the area over the past two days, the National Weather Service said.

Houses near the Colorado were flooded, resident Terri Kleen said.

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbot declared a state of disaster in 18 counties as one death was reported due to the ongoing flooding.

Authorities report the Llano River in Central Texas is expected to rise to over 40 feet.

The National Weather Service warned that the river at Llano, about 105km northwest of Austin, rose to near-record levels on Tuesday morning.

Kingsland, where the bridge collapsed, sits in Llano County, and is the meeting point between the Llano Rove and Colorado River. Several school districts closed for the day, and emergency personnel blocked access to more than 150 low-water crossings.

The most dramatic scenes Tuesday played out in Marble Falls, where an extraordinary amount of water poured over the Starcke Dam, carrying with it riverside docks and other large debris.

In Austin, fire officials temporarily banned all watercraft. The bodies of three men were recovered and on Tuesday morning, one remained missing.

The river was expected to crest at near 41 feet (12.5 meters), which is 18 feet (5.5 meters) above major flood stage.

A high pressure centre positioned over the U.S. Plains and Midwest is partly to blame for the onslaught of heavy rain, as it both funnels moisture from the Gulf of Mexico up through southern Texas and draws lingering tropical moisture up from western Mexico.

Abbott said this morning that the state is prepared to send resources to areas affected by flooding.

Meanwhile, forecasters told residents along the Llano River in central Texas to seek higher ground after more than 250mm of rain fell in only 36 hours. "Not for this time of year".

Light to moderate rain will continue for the next couple of days but taper off as the weekend approaches.

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