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LIVE: Catastrophic flooding after Imelda unloads 3 feet of rain in Texas

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer


Imelda loaded widespread flooding across southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana with over 40 inches of rain falling in several communities. The catastrophic flooding is bringing back unwanted memories of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the region back in 2017.

Hundreds of water rescues have been performed across the region with the worst of the flooding taking place near Beaumont, Texas, located east of Houston.

At least two fatalities have been reported in Texas amid the widespread flooding. The first happened in Jefferson County when a person drowned while trying to move a horse to safety. The second occurred in Harris County after a vehicle with several occupants became submerged while attempting to drive through a flooded road.

Authorities have urged residents to shelter in place and seek higher ground if possible. However, despite the warnings, there have been over 300 high-water rescues, many of which taking place after people attempted to drive through floodwaters.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for 13 counties that were experiencing the flooding. Gov. Abbott also declared a state of emergency to give counties access to state resources as they respond to the flooding.

“The State of Texas is working closely with local officials and emergency personnel to provide the resources they need to keep Texans safe from Tropical Storm Imelda,” Abbott said in a statement. “I thank our first responders who are acting swiftly to help the communities that are facing this severe weather event. I urge all those in the path of this storm to take the necessary precautions and heed all warnings from local officials.”

As the rain tapered off by Thursday night, several locations have already been inundated with feet of rain, including multiple communities topped the 40-inch mark. The highest total rainfall report so far has been 43.35 inches at Taylor’s Bayou in Port Arthur, Texas. Texas Greens Bayou, northeast of Houston, recorded 9.68 inches in 3 hours during the middle of the day Thursday.

While Houston initially avoided the heaviest rainfall from Imelda, heavier bands of rain began shifting southward over the city as of late Thursday morning, and Bayous were rising rapidly, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

On Thursday afternoon, a very heavy rain band east of Houston continued to drop copious rainfall amounts of 3 to 4 inches per hour, adding to the significant and even major flooding that is ongoing, forecasters said.


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