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Tropical storm floods Houston with damage that may rival Harvey

James Leggate

The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda have dumped the most rain on Houston that the area has seen since Hurricane Harvey.

More than 10 inches had fallen in just 24 hours in parts of Harris County, where Houston is located, and more than 20 inches had fallen in some parts of neighboring Montgomery County, according to preliminary data from the National Weather Service.

More than 50 inches of rain fell in parts of the Houston area when Harvey struck southeastern Texas in 2017. It brought maximum winds of 130 mph, killed dozens of people and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate.

Widespread flooding was reported across the area after Imelda made landfall. Some were calling it “worse than Harvey,” FOX26 reported.

Weather Service forecasters were predicting isolated totals of as much of 45 inches of rainfall by the time the system, now downgraded to a tropical depression, passes out of the area.

A reporter tweeted video showing floodwaters rising up against a concrete divider on Interstate 10.

Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in 13 counties on Thursday morning.

"The state of Texas is working closely with local officials and emergency personnel to provide the resources they need to keep Texans safe from Tropical Storm Imelda," Abbot said in a statement. "I thank our first responders who are acting swiftly to help the communities that are facing this severe weather event. I urge all those in the path of this storm to take the necessary precautions and heed all warnings from local officials."

At least one death has been attributed to the storm. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported that a man was trying to move his horse when he was electrocuted and drowned.

Three people suffered minor injuries when the roof of a mail distribution facility collapsed, according to the Houston Fire Department.

Emergency workers said they helped evacuate children from some schools and stranded drivers from flooded roads.

Harris County deputies evacuated a sick 10-year-old girl from her Aldine home.

“It’s been non-stop for our team,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted.

Estimates from Hurricane Harvey put the damage at as much as $125 billion in Texas. In Houston, local officials said they pushed for elevated construction to avoid future flooding. The city has issued more than 6,000 permits for substantially remodeled homes and other buildings since then.

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