Flooding in East Texas Leads to Evacuations; More Rain Is Expected

Flooding in East Texas Leads to Evacuations; More Rain Is Expected

Over a half a foot of rain fell in East Texas on Thursday morning, causing threats of flooding and adding to a deluge in an area that had already received up to a foot of rain on Sunday. More heavy rain was on the way.

Images from East Texas showed widespread flooding in streets and stranded cars, local news outlets reported. A mandatory evacuation order issued in Polk County was still in effect on Thursday.

The worst wasn’t over.

More rain, 2 to 3 inches per hour, could fall on Thursday afternoon and evening and into Friday morning, forecasters said. The additional heavy rainfall could lead to more widespread flooding.

A flood watch was in effect for Southeast Texas, 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 Weather Service in Houston, said on Thursday.

“We have had several reports of numerous flooded roads in that area and multiple high-water rescues,” she said. “Roads are impassable.”

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

The storm came days after an earlier round of rainfall and flooding prompted officials in Polk County, home to about 50,000 people, to issue a mandatory evacuation order on Monday.

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

In Harris County, which includes Houston, Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a call for voluntary evacuations on Tuesday in certain areas near the San Jacinto River. Judge Hidalgo said in a statement posted on social media on Thursday that the worst appeared to be over in the area, and that there were no reports of injuries. She added that crews had rescued eight people and 30 animals in high-water areas.

Officials in Montgomery County, north of Houston, also issued a voluntary evacuation order.

In a post on the Polk County Office of Emergency Management’s Facebook page, officials warned that the Trinity River Authority was planning to increase discharge from the Lake Livingston Dam into the area, which could worsen flooding and cause a risk to infrastructure.

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

The Houston Police Department said that it was closing Lake Houston because of the expected heavy rainfall.

Nearly 40,000 customers in Texas in the greater Houston area were without power on Thursday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.

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

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

Offices and schools in the county were closed on Thursday. At least one shelter was open at a gym in Livingston.

The heavy rain could lead to street flooding and cause streams and rivers to rise, the agency said.

“Do not drive through flooded roadways,” the Weather Service said.

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