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High water crossing

As the water began to recede, tenants of buildings along East California Street crept out to inspect the damage after rainstorms dropped several inches of water on the city overnight and early Monday morning.

Rescue crews launched boats to try to reach people stranded in southern parts of the town.

According to police radio reports, rescuers pulled together with residents to find boats to evacuate people from their flooded homes.

Pecan Grove Mobile Home Park was reportedly underwater. Some residents of the small community off McCubbin Street could apparently feel their mobile homes swaying in the rising water.

The railroad tracks were covered with what looked like a debris-filled river. Buckets, tree limbs and pieces of construction material floated past as people watched from sidewalks on California Street, Main Street and Broadway.

A service road near Exit 498B was torn up, bits of the asphalt ripped off like pieces of soggy bread were found.

People who work in the downtown area were unable to reach their offices and businesses.

Register advertising manager David Mann reported that both County Road 902 and parts of Highway 377 were closed.

A skeleton staff worked to compile Monday’s edition of the Register.

“We haven’t missed a paper in 117 years,” said Register pressroom supervisor Tom Baker.

He said as he and his wife drove in to work around 9:15 a.m., they encountered flooding across Interstate 35 and Spring Creek Road. At one point, the couple noticed “acres and acres” of water in the pastures north of Gainesville on Interstate 35. He said the house and some barns at a horse ranch outside Gainesville were “up to the rooftops” in water.

Gainesville police were unable to comment during the height of rescue operations.

“Right now, we’ve got reporters out the wazoo,” said an officer who answered the department’s nonemergency line about 10:30 Monday morning.

Cooke County Sheriff Mike Compton and one of his deputies found themselves involved in the rescue of one of Compton’s neighbors and her young daughter.

Compton said he was hemmed in and could not leave his house Monday morning after a small creek near his home flooded.

Nearby Redman Branch is usually just a calm tributary, he said.

Compton and his wife noticed their neighbor, Angie Wolf, and her child clinging to a pedestal outside their home.

“Apparently, Angie’s husband went to work. When Angie woke up, the water was about two feet deep in her house. She woke up when her door broke open and the water came in,” Compton said.

Compton said Deputy Russ Harper just happened to be outside near the house blocking traffic when they noticed Wolf standing outside her flooded home with her child.

He and the deputy waded into the flood water.

“The water was about chest deep, and we couldn’t see what was underneath the water,” the sheriff said.

Compton and Harper made their way to the stranded woman and child by hanging on to the fence, breaking up several logjams along the way.

“Deputy Harper got the child and I helped Angie get back. She was exhausted from holding that child,” he said. “We held onto the fence and worked our way back and got them out of there.”

The Comptons also said they saw two of Wolf’s cows floating in the creek and were able to get the cattle out of the water and into a pen.

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