Thunderstorms bring 10 inches of rain and floods to parts of Texas

By Calvin Palmer

Thunderstorms caused 10 inches of rain in parts of western Harris County overnight, flooding homes and roads. A flood watch is in effect until at least midnight, the National Weather Service said.

Additional rain this afternoon will likely result in more flooding, said Heather Saucier, spokeswoman for the Harris County Flood Control District.

“The water levels in our channels are falling,” she said. “We can hope that some of that water drains off before it rains again.”

Interstate 45 southbound was closed at Spring Stuebner on the north side. The freeway was at a virtual standstill behind the blockage.

A flood warning was issued this afternoon for the west fork of the San Jacinto River and Spring Creek, both affecting Harris and Montgomery counties. Both had overflowed their banks at 2:30 p.m.

Jersey Village recorded a 24-hour rain total of 10.1 inches as of 7:00 a.m. Bunker Hill Village recorded 9.7 inches and West Belt 9.4 inches.

Rescuers with the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department pulled dozens of residents out of their houses in the Bear Creek subdivision near Highway 6 and Clay Road.

Assistant Chief Scott Mullins said 100 to 200 homes suffered some sort of water damage.

“We got reports of one family standing on a bed in a bedroom, that was the highest place in the house,” said Mullins, adding there were no known injuries but some residents in wheelchairs needed to be carried from their homes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned the Addicks Reservoir is rising this afternoon and could flood parts of Highway 6 or Eldridge, both of which cross it.

Despite scheduled TAKS testing, the Cypress-Fairbanks, Katy, Alief, Fort Bend, North Forest and Spring Branch school districts canceled all classes today because of the weather. Tomball schools delayed opening by two hours.

Houston Independent School District campuses remained open, but there will be no TAKS testing because of the weather and possibility some students might not make it in, especially on the west side.

Witnesses reported seeing a woman drive into a flooded drainage ditch on the north side of Interstate 10 between Gessner and the West Sam Houston Tollway just before dawn.

Christopher Jordan, 41, said he saw the woman’s car float toward a drainage ditch in front of Sam’s Club and teeter on the bank.

Jordan, who waded through four feet of water and grabbed the bumper, said the woman was on a cell phone. Finally he had to let go and the vehicle was swept down the culvert and nobody appeared to escape.

Houston police Sgt G.T. Hall said divers ventured about 300 feet down two huge underground drainage pipes looking for the dark-colored Toyota RAV4.

Divers in the eastern pipe saw tire skid marks on the ceiling, and police were planning to go manhole-by-manhole down the route looking for the car.

Hall added no missing person report has been filed with police.

Earlier, Houston firefighters rescued several people trapped in their cars by up to four feet of water nearby at I-10 and Gessner, said Assistant Chief Adrian Trevino.

Firefighters used high-water rescue trucks and boats to reach the stranded people, Trevino said. No injuries have been reported so far, he added.

Flooded homes also were reported along White Oak Bayou in the Hastings Green and Wren Crest subdivisions, said Francisco Sanchez, spokesman for the Harris County Emergency Management.

[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]

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