A saturating rain over East Texas caused huge trees to fall, flooded roadways — even causing one death — and shut down the East Texas State Fair for the last two days of the 2012 season.
According to a press release, the body of Chanda Pipes of Martinsville was recovered several hours after emergency personnel was able to rescue the driver who was found clinging to a tree off of Farm-to-Market Road 95 south of Chireno. The vehicle, which was swept away by fast moving water, has not been recovered.
Nacogdoches County Sheriff officials said Ms. Pipes was the daughter of one of the sheriff department's employees.
The Park of East Texas President John Sykes said he made the call on Saturday and again on Sunday to shut down the East Texas State Fair.
Sykes nor Smith County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bobby Garmon, who has worked security at the fair for 25 years, could remember the fair being closed down for two days in a row.
Sykes said in 2005 Hurricane Rita forced the fair to shut down for one day due to high winds and then in 2009 a six inch rain event cost the fair to lose a day.
“This was a true soaker and the area needed it and it was a blessing, but not for the fair,” Sykes said.
Sykes said the fair saw 43,400 people in attendance on Friday and the midway broke a record on money brought in.
“We expected Sunday to be a turnaround for us, but the weather didn't cooperate. We knew we would have huge crowds for our concert tonight, but it didn't stop raining and safety was the biggest reason in making the decision to shut it down,” he said.
Sykes said he held off in making the decision as they watched various outlets for the latest weather forecast.
“Am I disappointed sure, but did we do the right thing, certainly. The year will not be a bust and we are already working and planning next year,” he said.
Firefighters and emergency crews worked a slew of accidents across East Texas and Tyler firefighters worked several downed trees including one in the 400 block of Hudson Street.
While not wanting to be identified in the story the man said the crash sounded like “the death of a dream.”
Several thousand people were without electricity, but Oncor crews were working to restore the power.
Deason said a cold front later in the week could touch off a few showers, but he did expect the temperatures to be more fall like.