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Cattle Drive Saves Hundreds Of Cows Stranded By Texas Flooding

A herd of Texas cattle is safe Monday, thanks to the work of cowboys and volunteers who worked to move some 500 cows and calves from an "island" of land that was being shrunk by the rising Trinity River.

The rescue meant that what could have been a scene "from an 1800s-era Texas cattle drive actually took place," says the Sheriff's Office in Liberty County, northeast of Houston. The cattle had been stranded on about 40 acres of land that was losing ground to floodwaters.

"It's bad and getting worse by the minute," cowboy Jarrod Land told local TV ABC 13 News. "Calves are really struggling to get out."

Saying that the cows were on unfamiliar terrain, Land added, "The water is high. It's scary for the cattle. It's scary for a grown man back there right now."

After the cattle were rescued from the island, they were guided west along Highway 90 toward Dayton, Texas — and away from the river. Some of the cattle didn't survive, according to multiple reports, but hundreds arrived safely.

Because of high waters from the record-breaking rainfall that hit Houston and many other parts of Texas in May, some of Sunday's herding was done from airboats. But much of it was done on horseback, as in the old days. That, and the sunny weather, made many people show up to watch.

"It's really a taste of the Old West coming back in here," spectator Ricky Brown told KHOU News. He added, "Everybody just wants to be a part of this. This is something that hasn't happened in probably 200 years."

"To me, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience you get to see, something you don't see every day," Aaron Privett told KHOU.

As Krishnadev reported for the Two-Way this morning, the forecast in Texas calls for sunshine this week.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.