Strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible, across the Brazos Valley, this afternoon and evening. Winds in excess of 40-60mph are the main concern, within the strongest activity. An isolated, brief tornado threat cannot be ruled out. Heavy rainfall between 1" and 3" has the potential to cause localized flash flooding in a few locations.
Four mornings a week, two vans with government tags and volunteer drivers make the rounds of the Rio Grande Valley. They're picking up veterans for a five-hour trip to the nearest veterans hospital in San Antonio.
The so-called "vet vans" are seen as a blessing and a sore point. They're free, and invaluable to those too sick to drive or who don't have a reliable car.
But the vets question why a region with an estimated 45-thousand to 80-thousand veterans has no hospital to serve them locally.
The Rio Grande Valley along the U-S-Mexico border has two outpatient clinics -- one in Harlingen and one in McAllen. But they're so understaffed it can take three to six months for an appointment.
In December, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced a new, 30-thousand-square-foot, outpatient clinic would be open in June 2007 in Harlingen's hospital district.
Valley veterans say that's an improvement -- but still not enough.