Log In


Reset Password
  • MENU
    Nation
    Friday, June 21, 2024

    Hundreds rescued from flooding in Texas as waters continue rising in Houston

    The bridge over Lake Houston along West Lake Houston Parkway from Kingwood to Atascocita is seen after it was closed due to high water on either side of the thoroughfare, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Kingwood, Texas. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)

    Houston — High waters flooded neighborhoods around Houston on Saturday following heavy rains that have already resulted in crews rescuing more than 400 people from homes, rooftops and roads engulfed in murky water. Others prepared to evacuate their property.

    A wide region was swamped from Houston to rural East Texas, where game wardens rode airboats through waist-high waters rescuing both people and pets who did not evacuate in time. One crew brought a family and three dogs aboard as rising waters surrounded their cars and home.

    A flood watch was in effect through Sunday afternoon, as forecasters predicted additional rainfall Saturday night and the likelihood of major flooding.

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

    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.

    Water could be seen flowing into parts of the couple’s subdivision, but Aron Brown said he wasn’t worried because their home is at a higher elevation than others in the neighborhood.

    Brown, who had driven from his home in a golf cart, said the flooding wasn’t as bad as Hurricane Harvey in 2017. He pointed to nearby power lines and said that flooding during Harvey had reached the top of the lines.

    Residents in low-lying areas asked to evacuate

    Friday's fierce 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.

    “A lull in heavy rain is expected through (Saturday) evening,” according to the National Weather Service. “The next round of heavy rainfall is expected late (Saturday) into Sunday.”

    Up to 3 inches of additional rain was expected, with up to 5 inches possible in isolated areas.

    Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said more rain was expected Sunday, and if it’s a lot, it could be problematic. Hidalgo is the top elected official in the nation’s third-largest county.

    Ongoing rain has left parts of Texas drenched, residents trapped

    Most weekends, Miguel Flores Sr. is mowing his huge backyard on a 2.5-acre lot behind his home in Kingwood. But on Saturday, he and his family were loading several vehicles with clothes, small appliances and other items.

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

    “It’s sad, but what can I do,” Flores said. He added that he has flood insurance.

    For weeks, drenching rains in Texas and parts of Louisiana have filled reservoirs and saturated the ground. Floodwaters partially submerged cars and roads this week across parts of southeastern Texas, north of Houston, reaching the roofs of some homes.

    More than 21 inches fell over a five-day period through Friday in Liberty County near the city of Splendora, about 30 miles northeast of Houston, according to the National Weather Service.

    Hidalgo said Saturday that 178 people and 122 pets have been rescued so far in the county. Scores of rescues took place in neighboring Montgomery County. In Polk County, about 100 miles northeast of Houston, officials said they have done over 100 water rescues in the past few days.

    Houston is one of the most flood-prone metro areas in the U.S.

    Authorities in Houston have not reported any deaths or injuries. The city of more than 2 million people is one of the most flood-prone metro areas in the country and 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.

    Of particular concern was an area along the San Jacinto River, which was expected to continue rising as more rain falls and officials release water from a full reservoir. Hidalgo issued a mandatory evacuation order on Thursday for people living along portions of the river.

    The weather service reported that the river was at nearly 74 feet late Saturday morning after reaching nearly 78 feet. The rapidly changing forecast said the river was expected to fall to near flood stage of 58 feet by Thursday.

    Most of Houston’s city limits were not heavily impacted by the weather. Officials said the area received about four months' worth of rain in about a week’s time.

    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 that drain 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.

    Associated Press reporters Ken Miller in Edmond, Okla., Jim Vertuno in Austin, and Valerie Gonzalez in McAllen, Texas, contributed to this report.

    A stranded care is seen near the bridge over Lake Houston along West Lake Houston Parkway after it was closed due to high water on either side of the thoroughfare, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Kingwood, Texas. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    Miguel Flores Sr. stands in his flooded backyard outside his home in the northeast Houston neighborhood of Kingwood on Saturday, May 4, 2024. Officials said the area had about four months of rain in about a week’s time. (AP Photo/Juan Lozano)
    Girls ride their bikes through flood water near the bridge over Lake Houston along West Lake Houston Parkway after it was closed due to high water on either side of the thoroughfare, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Kingwood, Texas. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    People gather to walk around bridge over Lake Houston along West Lake Houston Parkway after it was closed due to high water on either side of the thoroughfare, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Kingwood, Texas (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    The bridge over Lake Houston along West Lake Houston Parkway from Kingwood to Atascocita is seen after it was closed due to high water on either side of the thoroughfare, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Kingwood, Texas. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks before going up in a helicopter at David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport to survey flood damage around the northern section of greater Houston, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Spring, Texas. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo describes seeing power lines relative to floodwater before going up in a helicopter at David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport to survey flood damage around the northern section of greater Houston, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Spring, Texas. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    Tim McCanon sits on the road with his dogs after being rescued by the Community Fire Department during severe flooding on Friday, May 3, 2024, in New Caney, Texas. (Raquel Natalicchio/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    A man carries his dogs rescued by boat from his home by Caney Creek Fire and Rescue on River Plantation Drive, Friday, May 3, 2024, in Conroe, Texas. Torrential rain is inundating southeastern Texas, forcing schools to cancel classes and closing numerous highways around Houston. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    Joseph Torres stands in the remains of his father's home in Hodges, Texas, Friday May 3, 2024. It and several other houses in the unincorporated Jones County community west of Hawley were damaged or destroyed by a tornado Thursday evening. (Ronald W. Erdrich/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)
    A woman is handed her child after being evacuated by boat from her homes with the help of deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Friday, May 3, 2024, in Conroe, Texas. Torrential rain is inundating southeastern Texas, forcing schools to cancel classes and closing numerous highways around Houston. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    A woman is rescued by airboat from her home by Montgomery County Sheriff's Office deputies on River Plantation Drive, Friday, May 3, 2024, in Conroe, Texas. Torrential rain is inundating southeastern Texas, forcing schools to cancel classes and closing numerous highways around Houston. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    A child in a car seat is taken out of a boat as residents are evacuated by boat from their homes by Montgomery County Sheriff's Office deputies, Friday, May 3, 2024, in Conroe, Texas. Torrential rain is inundating southeastern Texas, forcing schools to cancel classes and closing numerous highways around Houston. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    A pickup truck maneuvers a residential street filled with water in Woodloch, Texas, subdivision near The Woodlands as floodwaters rise Friday, May 3, 2024. Torrential rain is inundating southeastern Texas, forcing schools to cancel classes and closing numerous highways around Houston. (Kirk Sides/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    Emergency workers with Caney Creek Fire and Rescue carry a dog from a flooded area in the River Plantation area of Conroe, Texas Friday, May 3, 2024. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)/

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.