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More storms move through Houston area, where hundreds have been rescued from floodwaters


Emergency workers with Caney Creek Fire and Rescue boat out dogs from a flood portion of River Plantation Drive in River Plantation, Friday, May 3, 2024. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

Jason Fochtman | Hearst Newspapers | Getty Images

More storms were moving through the already saturated Houston area on Sunday, where flooding from heavy rains has led to the rescue of hundreds of people from homes, rooftops and roads.

“It’s going to be raining through the day and some of the storms could be producing the heavier downpours,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Hayley Adams.

Over the last week, areas near Lake Livingston, located northeast of Houston, have gotten upwards of 20 inches of rain, she said, while there has been as much as 12 inches of rain in that period in areas of northeastern Harris County, the nation’s third-largest county that includes Houston.

Adams said the storms coming through Sunday were expected to bring up to 3 inches of rainfall, with up to 8 inches possible in some areas.

“It’s going to keep rising this way,” said Miguel Flores Jr., who lives in the northeast Houston neighborhood of Kingwood. “We don’t know how much more. We’re just preparing for the worst.”

Houston authorities have not reported any deaths or injuries as a wide region from Houston to rural East Texas has been swamped.

Flooding forces evacuations

Most weekends Flores’ father, Miguel Flores Sr., is mowing his huge backyard on a 2.5-acre (1-hectare) lot behind his home in Kingwood. But on Saturday, he and his family loaded several vehicles with clothes, small appliances and other items.

Water from the San Jacinto River already had swallowed his backyard and was continuing to rise, from about 1 foot high in the yard Friday to about 4 feet the following day.

As storms forced numerous high-water rescues, including some from the rooftops of flooded homes, officials redoubled urgent instructions for residents in low-lying areas to evacuate, warning the worst was still to come.

Greg Moss, 68, stood late Saturday afternoon by a golf cart as he eyed the several feet of water covering the road that leads to his home in Channelview, a community in eastern Harris County near the San Jacinto River.

Moss had managed to pack up many of his belongings and leave before the road flooded Saturday.

“I would be stuck for four days,” Moss said. “So now at least I can go get something to eat.”

He moved his belongings and vehicle to a neighbor’s home, where he will stay until the waters recede. Moss said he is not worried his home will flood because it’s located on higher ground.

Houston prone to flooding

Houston is one of the most flood-prone metro areas in the country. The city of more than 2 million people has long experience dealing with devastating weather.

Hurricane Harvey in 2017 dumped historic rainfall that flooded thousands of homes and resulted in more than 60,000 rescues by government rescue personnel across Harris County.

The greater Houston area covers about 10,000 square miles, a footprint slightly bigger than New Jersey. It is crisscrossed by about 1,700 miles of channels, creeks and bayous draining into the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles southeast of downtown.

The system of bayous and reservoirs was built to drain heavy rains, but the engineering initially designed nearly 100 years ago has struggled to keep up with the city’s growth and bigger storms.

Husband and wife Aron Brown, 45, and Jamie Brown, 41, were two of the many residents who drove or walked to watch the rising waters near a flooded intersection close to the San Jacinto River. Nearby restaurants and a gas station were beginning to flood.

What’s expected next

Rain in the area is expected to taper off by evening, said Adams, the National Weather Service meteorologist. But next up, residents recovering from the floods will have the heat and humidity to contend with.

With a combination of the lingering moisture from the rains and temperatures upwards of 90 F, the area may be looking at heat index values in the triple digits this week, she said.

“We want people to be mindful of the increasing temperatures, and heat exhaustion, heat stress,” she said.



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