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Torrential rain and deadly flooding is bringing the Houston area to a standstill, shuttering schools, canceling flights and leaving hundreds of cars swamped and abandoned.

23 states sue Trump over Calif. auto emission rule
20 Eylül 2019 - 21:58

Torrential rain and deadly flooding is bringing the Houston area to a standstill, shuttering schools, canceling flights and leaving hundreds of cars swamped and abandoned.

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The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda dumped up to 43 inches of rain within three days in the areas between Winnie and Beaumont, east of Houston. Most of that rain fell in just 24 hours.

Some residents whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Harvey two years ago are now seeing rain seeping into their houses yet again.

"It was really just intense rainfall that wouldn't stop. It was very [Hurricane] Harvey-like," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

"PHOTO:Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP
Remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda flood a home on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, near Devers, Texas.
"PHOTO:Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
Cars pull to the side of the freeway of highway 69 North to get by the flood waters on September 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
(MORE: What to know about floodwater safety as torrential rain slams Houston)

At least two deaths were reported on Thursday as the floodwaters rose: one man who drowned after driving into floodwaters and a second man who was electrocuted and drowned while trying to move his horse, according to authorities.

"PHOTO:Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP
Jim Dunagan moves his cattle to higher ground as remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda flood parts of Southeast Texas, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, near Nome, Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday declared a state of disaster for 13 counties as the floodwaters climbed up to the door handles of SUVs.

In Harris County, which encompasses Houston, more than 1,000 people were rescued. Some residents used tractors and air boats to pull other to safety.

Constable Rosen sent in video of one of our Swift Water Rescue units in Independence Heights. He’s w/them. Helping stranded motorists & anyone else who needs help.

If you find yourself in need of help, you can call 9-1-1 or (713) 755-7628 #houwx #hounews #Imelda #houstonweather pic.twitter.com/Xiw3zHJjT5

— Constable Alan Rosen Harris County Pct. 1 (@Pct1Constable) September 19, 2019

Houston you have the biggest heart when it’s needed most! ❤️a man used the ladder off his truck to rescue people on I-45 and main and then this man carried a baby up the ladder out of flood waters to safety. #houston #abc13 #Imelda https://t.co/ET2D4keNaj pic.twitter.com/WA5rFYJ3Sb

— Brhe Berry ABC13 (@BrheABC13) September 20, 2019

A Harris County Sheriff's sergeant was heading to rescue a man stranded in floodwaters early Friday when the fast current trapped him, Sheriff Gonzalez said. The sergeant, who had lost all contact with the department, clung to a tree branch to avoid the quick current until both men could be rescued, Gonzalez said.

"We collectively just held our breath for a minute ... we're just all relieved," said the sheriff, who knows the sergeant personally.

This is not a river. This is a road. Rescues on hour 7 now. Many ppl who flooded still don’t want to leave home—they’re just too nervous it’s going to get worse. #abc13 #winnie https://t.co/Cuopv5mmW9 pic.twitter.com/uDNPxU61ha

— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) September 19, 2019

We’re still continuing to search for others we Will Clayton/Eastex Freeway. Our @HCSOTexas team is still continuously responding to water rescue calls. #HouNews #HouWx pic.twitter.com/pcmlLevtdR

— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) September 19, 2019
(MORE: 2 dead as Texas declares disaster with torrential rain wreaking havoc)

Jayden Payne, a student at Aldine Senior High School in Houston, was in the car with his mom when he saw an SUV head into a ditch -- "and it was going down fast."

Payne said he ran over, dodging other cars, and dove into the water to help pull a mother and daughter to safety.

"I was frightened for the little girl because I could tell she was 4 years old. And I was like, 'She's too young for her life to get taken away right now,'" he told ABC News. "They were both too young."

Mustang football player Jayden Payne jumped into the water to help save a woman and her toddler when the car they were in went into the ditch running beside Aldine HS. Great job Jayden...and the 2 other men who risked their lives to help another! @AldineHS_AISD @AldineISD pic.twitter.com/dyCWoCsx7l

— @GungHoMustangs (@gunghomustangs) September 19, 2019

Houston, the nation's 4th largest city, saw over 9 inches of rainfall on Thursday, the wettest September day ever recorded there.

About 200 students from the Aldine Independent School District were forced to spend the night at school after they couldn't get home due to the flooding, ABC Houston station KTRK reported. Houston public schools are closed Friday.

"PHOTO:Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 19: A school bus makes its way on the flooded Hopper Rd. on September 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.

Firefighters on HWV 78 helping parents and students get home from Isaacs Elementary school. pic.twitter.com/sKLnCmOmoJ

— Houston Fire Dept (@HoustonFire) September 19, 2019
(MORE: Why Houston is prone to flooding)

This week's downpour is the fourth highest amount of rain from a tropical system in Texas' recorded history, as well as the seventh highest amount of rain from a tropical system in U.S. recorded history.

Hurricane Harvey brought 60 inches of rain to Texas two years ago, which remains the U.S. record for most rain from a tropical system.

I’m at the Will Clayton/Eastex Freeway scene. So far, no others have been found, no signs of life. We will now attempt to pull out the van, hoping there were no other occupants. #HouNews #HouWx pic.twitter.com/OuhMuPnFQt

— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) September 20, 2019

And the threat isn't over.

Friday afternoon, rain will redevelop in eastern Texas as deep tropical moisture moves onshore from the Gulf of Mexico. In the next 24 hours, additional up to another 1 inch of rain is possible in eastern Texas, including Houston.

Flood watches continue in Texas.

Flash flood watches and flood warnings continue for Houston and east to Lake Charles, Louisiana, because the ground is so saturated that it can’t handle any more rain -- making flash flooding possible with as little as 1 inch of additional rain.

ABC News' Clayton Sandell, Gina Sunseri and Mya Green contributed to this report.



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