AT least five people are dead after historic flooding in Texas which has destroyed homes, roads and left horses floundering in the high waters, The Sun reports. Houston was swamped with 15 inches of rain on late Sunday and early Monday. Normally, it sees just four inches of rain over the entire month.
At least 1,000 homes have been flooded in Harris County and crowds have so far performed 1,200 high-water rescues. Residents jumped into the water to rescue up to 70 helpless horses, after a Houston stable was overwhelmed by floodwaters. Several shelters were established for people forced from their homes and at least 1,000 people have been taken from apartment complexes in the north part of the city and moved to a shopping mall.
Texas governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of emergency in Houston and city officials have warned drivers to stay away from fast-flowing waters. On Monday, a Texan news reporter was filmed saving a man from his vehicle that slowly sank into the water – just before going live on air.
Children have also been warned to avoid high waters that could contain snakes or ants. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett told CNN that 240billion gallons of rain has fallen in the Houston area, an estimate which may soon rise.
Jess Lindner, a meterologist with the Harris County Flood Control District, told NBC News that flash flooding could case a “life threatening situation” and pleaded with residents: “Stay where you are.” In a dramatic statement, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management told NBC: “If your home or apartment takes in water, DO NOT LEAVE. You are safer inside your home. Straying into deep or fast moving flood waters means certain death.”
Forty districts and universities have cancelled school and major public freeways have been closed off by high waters. Nine hospitals in the region were also closed due to additional patients.
Mr Abbott will provide an update on the state’s response in a news conference this afternoon.