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Flooding From Heavy Rain Prompts Mandatory Evacuations in East Texas

Mandatory evacuations were underway in parts of Southeast Texas Thursday evening after heavy rains continued to trigger significant flooding, adding to a deluge in an area that had received up to a foot of rain Sunday.

Authorities issued a disaster declaration in Harris County, where the San Jacinto River on the outskirts of Houston was swelling to levels that could keep people stranded for days, according to the county government. County Executive Judge Lina Hidalgo urged residents in several neighborhoods near the East Fork of the river to evacuate before nightfall.

“What we are going to see tonight and this weekend will not be Hurricane Harvey,” Judge Hidalgo said, referring to the storm that caused damage in 2017, in a statement. “But we’re going to see significant impacts.”

Earlier in the day, crews had rescued eight people and 30 animals from flood zones, according to Judge Hidalgo.

Media images showed widespread street flooding and stranded cars.

Forecasters expected more rain, 2 to 3 inches per hour, to flood the area Thursday afternoon and evening, as well as Friday morning. Additional heavy rainfall could lead to more widespread flooding.

A flood watch was in effect in the area until Friday, according to the National Weather Service office in Houston.

In Livingston, which is in Polk County and northeast of Houston, about 8 to 10 inches of rain fell in the past 24 hours, Hayley Adams, a meteorologist with the Houston Weather Service, said Thursday.

“We have received several reports of numerous flooded roads in this area and several rescues in open water,” she said. “The roads are impassable. »

Adams said more rain, about 2 to 4 inches, was expected in the area Thursday night into Friday morning.

The storm came days after a previous round of rain and flooding prompted authorities in Polk County, home to about 50,000 people, to issue a mandatory evacuation order Monday.

“Roads are flooding faster than we can report,” the Polk County Office of Emergency Management said in a Facebook post Thursday. “Stay home if you can.”

The agency issued a boil water advisory for certain subdivisions on Thursday.

Authorities in Montgomery County, north of Houston, issued a voluntary evacuation order for some neighborhoods near the West Fork of the San Jacinto River.

In posts on the Polk County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page, officials provided updates on the Trinity River Authority’s planned increase in Lake Livingston Dam flow in the area, which could worsen flooding and pose a risk to infrastructure.

On Thursday afternoon, authorities assured residents that the integrity of the dam was not threatened.

The Houston Office of Emergency Management said Thursday that the city’s fire, police and public works departments had flood vehicles on standby for the communities of Kingwood and North Houston, which were also under flood monitoring.

The Houston Police Department said it was closing Lake Houston due to expected heavy rain.

Aerial drone footage, shared on social media by the Polk County Office of Emergency Management, showed homes and businesses engulfed by muddy floodwaters, and trucks and cars swept away.

“All roads in Polk County are compromised,” the agency said Thursday morning. The Texas Department of Transportation also closed a bridge over the Trinity River.

A video posted on showed a tractor-trailer in Polk County slowly sinking under a flooded stretch of highway as the driver climbed onto the roof of the vehicle while waiting for help.

County offices and schools were closed Thursday and were expected to remain closed Friday. At least one shelter was open at a Livingston gymnasium.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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