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Severe weather: Houston braces for flooding to worsen

HOUSTON (AP) — High waters flooded neighborhoods around Houston Saturday following heavy rains that have already allowed crews to rescue more than 400 people from homes, roofs and roads engulfed in murky waters. Others were preparing to evacuate their belongings.

Floodwaters inundated a wide area Saturday, from Houston to rural East Texas, where game wardens used airboats in waist-deep water to rescue people and pets who failed. had not evacuated in time. One crew took a family and three dogs on board as rising waters surrounded their cars and homes. A flood watch remained in effect Sunday afternoon as forecasters predicted additional rainfall Saturday evening in the soggy region and the likelihood of major flooding.

“It’s going to continue to increase this way,” said Miguel Flores Jr. of Kingwood. “We don’t know how much. We are simply preparing for the worst.

Aron Brown, 45, and his wife Jamie Brown, 41, were two of several residents who drove or walked to watch rising waters near a flooded intersection near the San Jacinto River in the Kingwood neighborhood, northeast of Houston.

Floodwaters had risen several meters and began inundating restaurants and a nearby gas station.

Water could be seen flowing in parts of the couple’s subdivision. But Aron Brown said he wasn’t worried because his house was at a higher elevation than others in their subdivision.

Brown, who left his home by golf cart, said the flooding was not as bad as Hurricane Harvey in 2017. He pointed to nearby power lines and said flooding during Harvey had reached the top of the lines.


Friday’s violent storms forced many rescue efforts in the event of rising waters, particularly from the roofs of flooded houses. Authorities doubled down on urgent orders for residents in low-lying areas to evacuate, warning that the worst was yet to come.

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

Up to 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) of additional rain is expected, with up to 5 inches (12.70 centimeters) more possible in isolated areas.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Saturday the area is expecting more rain Sunday and if it’s heavy it could be problematic. Hidalgo is the highest elected official in the nation’s third-largest county.

Continued rain has left parts of Texas soaked and residents trapped

Most weekends, Miguel Flores Sr. mows his huge yard on a 2 1/2-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 before floodwaters inundated his home.

Waters from the nearby San Jacinto River had engulfed his backyard and continued to rise Saturday.

Flores said the water in his yard was only about 1 foot high Friday. By Saturday, the water level was now around 4 feet.

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

For weeks, torrential rains in Texas and parts of Louisiana filled reservoirs and saturated the ground. Floodwaters partially submerged cars and roads this week in parts of southeast Texas, north of Houston, where high water reached the roofs of some homes.

More than 21 inches (53.34 centimeters) of rain fell during the five-day period that ended Friday in Liberty County, near the town of Splendora, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east. 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. Many rescues took place in neighboring Montgomery County. In Polk County, located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Houston, authorities said they had performed more than 100 water rescues in recent days.


Houston authorities reported no deaths or injuries. The city of more than 2 million people is one of the most flood-prone metropolitan areas in the country and has a long history of dealing with devastating weather.

Hurricane Harvey in 2017 dumped historical precipitation over the region, flooding thousands of homes and causing more than 60,000 rescues by Harris County Government emergency personnel.

Of particular concern was an area along the San Jacinto River in the northeastern part of Harris County, where the rise was expected to continue as rainfall increases and officials release more extra water from an already full tank. Hidalgo issued a mandatory evacuation order Thursday for people living along parts of the river.

Most of Houston’s city limits were not heavily impacted by the weather. Authorities said the area had seen about four months of rain in about a week.

The weather service said the river measured nearly 74 feet (22.56 meters) late Saturday morning after reaching nearly 78 feet (23.7 meters). The rapidly changing forecast indicates the river is expected to fall to near flood level of 58 feet (17.6 meters) by Thursday.

The greater Houston area covers about 10,000 square miles (about 25,900 square kilometers), a footprint slightly larger than New Jersey. It is crisscrossed by about 1,700 miles (2,736 kilometers) of canals, streams and bayous that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles (about 80 kilometers) southeast of downtown.

The city’s system of bayous and reservoirs was built to drain heavy rains. But engineering initially designed nearly 100 years ago has struggled to keep pace with the city’s growth and larger storms.


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from several private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP standards to work with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas on


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


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