Hundreds Rescued as Heavy Rains Drench Texas
HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say emergency workers have rescued about 200 people from a small Texas town hit hard by flooding from Tropical Depression Imelda.
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says about 50 additional households were on a waiting list to be rescued Thursday in the town of Winnie, about 60 miles east of Houston. He says airboats from the sheriff's office and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department were helping with the rescues, along with high-water vehicles.
Hawthorne told The Associated Press that the town "looks like a lake." He says it's the worst storm-related flooding he's seen after going through hurricanes including Rita in 2005, Ike in 2008, and Harvey two years ago.
In Beaumont, police said on Twitter that they've had requests for more than 250 water rescues and 270 evacuations.
The storm system associated with Tropical Depression Imelda is bringing severe weather to parts of Texas already hit by dangerous flooding.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning Thursday morning for Chambers County, including the town of Winnie, where a flash flood emergency warning is also in place.
Forecasters said a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was moving through the area at 15 mph.
A flash flood emergency warning is in effect for areas east of Houston as Tropical Depression Imelda dumps rainfall on parts of Texas.
Authorities say high-water rescues are underway in some areas because of rising water.
In the town of Winnie, about 60 miles east of Houston, a hospital was evacuated and water is inundating several homes and businesses. The Chambers County Sheriff's Office says Winnie is "being devastated by rising water" and that water rescues are ongoing.
Flooding is also reported in Beaumont, where authorities say all service roads are impassable. Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick tells the Beaumont Enterprise that homes that did not flood during Hurricane Harvey are now flooding.
The National Weather Service says "life-threatening amounts of rainfall" have fallen and that more is expected in the area Thursday.
Officials in Houston and surrounding communities say so far there have been no severe consequences as Tropical Depression Imelda deluged parts of Southeast Texas with rain.
The storm's remnants spawned several weak tornadoes in the Baytown area, about 25 miles east of Houston, causing minor damage to some homes and vehicles.
Forecasters say the Houston area could still face some heavy rainfall on Thursday.
Coastal counties, including Brazoria, Matagorda and Galveston, got the most rainfall since Imelda formed on Tuesday. Some parts of the Houston area had received nearly 8 inches of rain, while the city of Galveston had received nearly 9 inches.
Sargent, a town of about 2,700 residents in Matagorda County, had received nearly 20 inches of rain since Tuesday.