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Millions are still at risk of flooding as Southeast Texas braces for more rain

A flood warning remained in effect Sunday for parts of southeast Texas, with forecasters expecting several inches more rain and potentially serious runoff across a vast area totaling more than 100 square miles and including the city of Houston. The densely populated metro center is home to more than 2 million people and has been inundated by constant heavy rains. Crews carried out Hundreds of water rescues in Houston and surrounding neighborhoods earlier this weekend.

Flood warnings are issued when a mix of weather hazards creates favorable conditions for flooding, but they do not necessarily mean that flooding is at risk in a particular region. A flood warning currently in effect for Harris County – covering Houston to College Station – was expected to remain in effect until Sunday evening. It also extended eastward from the greater Houston area toward the Gulf Coast.

A Houston fire truck makes its way through floodwaters after severe flooding.

Houston Chronicle/Hearst Newspap


Forecasters warned people within flood defense limits to prepare for further rain and thunderstorms overnight on Saturday and throughout the day on Sunday, after earlier heavy rains drenched the area and submerged large parts of the country in cloudy floodwaters.

Emergency crews had already rescued more than 400 people from homes, rooftops and streets as neighborhoods around Houston were flooded by Saturday, the Associated Press reported, while others prepared to evacuate. Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top official in Harris County, where Houston is located, said at the time that 178 people and 122 pets had been rescued in that jurisdiction alone. No deaths or injuries related to the storm were reported in Houston.

A man waves to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department game wardens as they arrive by boat to rescue residents from flooding in Liberty County, Texas, Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Lekan Oyekanmi / AP


People in southeast Texas, still under a flood watch, were expecting additional rain amounts of between 1 and 3 inches on Sunday, although the National Weather Service said some places could see higher amounts – possibly up to 8 inches.

Ongoing flooding along the San Jacinto River was a concern as rain caused water levels to rise beyond capacity. Houston police shared a video on social media showing an officer rescuing a man and three dogs trapped in 8 to 10 feet of water Saturday morning. That rescue took place at a mobile home park on a stretch of the San Jacinto River near Lake Houston, police said.

“Excessive runoff has resulted in flooding of rivers, creeks, creeks and other low-lying and flood-prone locations, particularly urban areas,” the National Weather Service said in its latest statement, noting that river flooding continued Sunday morning and between Depending on location moderate to strong.

A severe weather forecast for the same region noted that local flash flooding was also expected, “particularly in areas that have already experienced heavy rainfall in recent days.” According to the weather service, strong and potentially damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes could also occur. The heaviest rainfall was forecast for the morning.

Southeast Texas has been hit hard by heavy rains over the past week, with Houston and surrounding neighborhoods feeling the brunt of the impact. Hidalgo announced Thursday that she had signed a disaster declaration for Harris County after the area received more rain than expected the night before, putting communities near the San Jacinto River at particular risk, the CBS affiliate reported KHOU. But storms have been endangering people living in river basins much further inland for days, and the disaster declaration for Harris County came on the same day that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended its extension a more comprehensive disaster declaration to include a total of 88 counties in the state.

Anna Harden

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