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At least 224 people and 153 pets rescued from flooding in Texas, with more rain in the forecast


By Sara Tonks, CNN Meteorologist, Joe Sutton and Paradise Afshar, CNN

(CNN) — As South Texas rivers swell, flooding homes and businesses and displacing thousands of people, residents looked to the sky Sunday as the threat of more rain looms.

At least 224 people have been rescued from homes and vehicles in Harris County, Texas, an official said Saturday evening, with evacuation orders and flood watches in place as more rain is expected to hit the state on Sunday, with a bull’s-eye of excessive rainfall. over the already swampy area of ​​Houston.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told CNN. 153 pets were also saved during the flood.

“It was really sad to see the impact on people’s livelihoods, their homes, infrastructure and just public infrastructure,” Hidalgo told CNN on Saturday.

“We really ask people to give it a minute before they go home.”

Many people in the city of Houston were evacuated before the worst of the severe weather, Brent Taylor, chief communications officer for the Houston Office of Emergency Management, told CNN’s Amara Walker on Sunday.

“We have the Houston Police Department and the Houston Fire Department patrolling these neighborhoods that are near the river and where the water is so high,” Taylor said. “There have been some cases where someone just screamed for help and said, ‘Hey, I’m stuck here!'”

“We have rescue vehicles at high tide. We have jet skis, we have air boats. Our Houston Public Works Department has dump trucks that can be equipped to transport people through these high waters, so it’s really a joint effort to ensure these Houstonians stay safe,” he added.

The weather forecast predicts rain from Sunday to Monday

Most of the weekend’s rain fell in west and central Texas, but there is a significant chance of heavier rain in the Houston area on Sunday.

Another 1 to 3 inches of rain is possible by Monday morning, according to the Houston National Weather Service office. Up to 10 to 20 centimeters of rain may fall in isolated areas.

“Due to the many heavy rain showers over the past week, flooding may occur sooner than would be expected under normal circumstances. Today’s rainfall will continue to worsen existing river flooding,” the Houston weather bureau warned.

Rainfall amounts in the region have been enormous over the past week, with some areas receiving two months’ worth of rain in five days. The weather service listed some of the precipitation totals collected:

  • Groveton, TX – 23.56″
  • Huntsville, TX – 21.76″
  • Splendora, TX- 21.01”
  • Willis, TX – 20.75″
  • Livingston, TX – 18.42″

However, there is relief on the horizon. The forecast for the rest of the week for Houston shows dry weather and warm temperatures Monday through Saturday, with plenty of sunshine to dry out the region.

This week’s storms were just the latest in a series of brutal weather events that have battered the state since early April. Dozens of tornadoes have hit from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, some parts of the state have been pummeled by softball-sized hail, and East Texas has seen months of rain with heavy waves, causing rivers to rise to levels they can no longer hold. has been seen since its devastating consequences. flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Mandatory evacuations are in effect in counties in and around Houston, with local officials drawing comparisons to past disasters. The flooding is “85% worse than Hurricane Harvey,” Emmitt Eldridge, San Jacinto County emergency management area coordinator, told CNN. “This has been a historic flood for Walker County. We have experienced more flooding from this event than Hurricane Harvey,” said Sherri Pegoda, Walker County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator.

A mandatory evacuation order remains in effect through Sunday evening for low-lying unincorporated areas in Polk County, emergency managers said in a Facebook post, as well as homes along rivers in Harris and Montgomery counties.

Disaster declarations are active for more than a third of Texas counties after Governor Greg Abbott expanded storm-related declarations in response to the flooding, according to a news release. More provinces may be added in the coming days, especially now that more storms are in the forecast.

The CNN Wire
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CNN’s Allison Chinchar, Ray Sanchez, Andy Rose and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.