Houston area sees relief, rescues after Imelda leaves 4 dead

Saturday, September 21, 2019

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TEXAS, USA (AP) — Emergency workers used boats yesterday to rescue about 60 residents of a Houston-area community still trapped in their homes by flood waters, following one of the wettest tropical cyclones in US history.

At least four deaths have been linked to the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda, which deluged parts of Texas and Louisiana and drew comparisons to Hurricane Harvey two years ago. Officials took advantage of receding flood waters to begin assessing how many homes and cars were flooded.

Almost 16 feet of standing water was reported in Huffman, north-east of Houston, when a nearby bayou overflowed. The Harris County Sheriff's Office deployed its marine unit to evacuate the approximately 60 residents. Officials have warned residents they might not see high waters recede in their neighbourhoods until the weekend.

Tuesday Martin, one of the residents in Huffman who was rescued, couldn't help but think of Harvey when Imelda's flood waters rushed into her home.

“Harvey affected us; we lost the whole first floor,” Martin said. “So it's like two years later, we do not want to go through this again.”

East of Houston in Jefferson County, which got hit by more than 40 inches of rain, officials also began taking stock of their damage. They also announced the death of Malcolm Foster, a 47-year-old Beaumont resident whose body was found inside his vehicle.

The heaviest rainfall had ended by Thursday night in south-east Texas, but forecasters warned that parts of northeast Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana could see flash flooding as Imelda's remnants shifted to the north.

Officials in Harris County, which includes Houston, said there had been a combination of at least 1,700 high-water rescues following Thursday's torrential rainfall.

“The water is getting lower and it's time for assessment and to move into recovery,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county's top administrator.

Most of the Houston-area roads that became water-logged after heavy rainfall Thursday, and resulting in more than 1,650 vehicles being abandoned and later towed, were mostly dry yesterday.


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