Floods in Texas cause flight cancellations, power outages
HOUSTON – Large parts of Texas were under a flash flood warning on Monday after a storm system dumped as much as 24 inches (61 cm) of rain in areas near Houston, causing hundreds of canceled flights, closed roads and massive power outages.
One fatality has been reported, Channel 13 in Houston said, in the storms that have caused at least 200 high-water rescues across the state.
The National Weather Service also issued a flash flood watch extending through much of central Texas, into western Louisiana and Arkansas.
Ed Emmett, the top political official for Harris County, signed a disaster declaration for the county that contains Houston after more than 1,000 homes flooded there and 155 high-water rescues were conducted.
Emmett told a news conference that 13 water channels designed for drainage had overflowed, causing floods that blocked roads to downtown and other parts of the city. Floods have also hit highways running through Houston, including Interstate 10, a major U.S. east-west corridor.
In Houston, more than 70 residential subdivisions reported flooding and Mayor Sylvester Turner canceled his State of the City speech planned for Monday, instructing all non-essential city employees to stay home.
“This not the day to be on the roads in the city of Houston,” Turner told reporters.
The city has turned one shopping mall into an evacuation center.
Nearly 90,000 customers were without power in the Houston area on Monday morning due to the severe weather, CenterPoint Energy reported.
As of 10:45 a.m. CDT (1545 GMT), more than 725 flights at major airports in Texas were canceled, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.
There were no significant impacts reported for oil fields in Texas and the belt of refineries around Galveston Bay. Gulf Coast cash refined products markets shrugged off the storm, with spot gasoline prices largely flat with Friday’s values.
The rains were expected to cause rivers to crest later in the week, bringing floods to downstream areas, the weather service said.
In the San Antonio and Austin areas, torrential rains have closed streets, caused traffic accidents and led to dozens of people being rescued from cars stuck in high water.
In Bastrop County, east of Austin, 20 families had to evacuated from their homes due to flooding, official said. –Reuters