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Flash Floods Hit Houston Area as Storm Drenches Harris County

Almost 17 inches of rain inundated parts of Houston early Monday, triggering flash flooding that brought the city to a near-standstill.

With more than 8.8 inches of rain, it took only a few hours for Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport to break the record-rainfall amount previously held by the entire month of April. By 11 a.m. (noon ET), nearly a foot of rain had fallen over the airports it grappled with more than 400 flight cancellations, which was under a ground stop from about 8 a.m. to noon.

METRO Houston also suspended all rail and bus services, as parts of the city and nearby Waller County were deluged with 16.8 inches of rain before noon, according to the National Weather Service.

METRO Houston also suspended all rail and bus services.

Up to 12 inches of rain fell by mid-morning in parts of Harris County and neighboring Waller and Fayette Counties, according to the National Weather Service.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner closed all city buildings and canceled the State of the City address that had been scheduled for Monday. “This is a dangerous situation and I do not want our employees trying to get to work,” Turner said. “Do not go out until conditions improve.” Houston Independent School District was also closed Monday, according to the district.

Turner said during a morning news conference that authorities had responded to 610 flooding emergencies, including 115 high water rescues. He said no injuries had been reported.

Image: Darius Simon, Isaac Hernandez
Darius Simon, left, and his son Isaac Hernandez wade through floodwaters as they try to reach Simon’s mother to rescue her from her flooded apartment Monday, April 18, 2016, in Houston. Storms have dumped more than a foot of rain in the Houston area, flooding dozens of neighborhoods and forcing the closure of city offices and the suspension of public transit. David J. Phillip / AP

Eight buildings had been damaged by the water, Turner said, and 88,000 people in the city of Houston alone were without power. Turner warned that the situation could get much worse as seven bayous across Harris County had exceeded their banks, and two damns were at risk of breaking.

“This is an unprecedented amount of rain,” Turner said. “It’s been stubborn — and it’s not moving anytime fast.”

“The situation is pretty serious,” said Rosie Torres, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The agency advised residents to “stay home and off the roads.”

“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,” the statement said.

Image:  Flooded area Houston
A resident looks out from the second floor as floodwaters surround his apartment complex Monday, April 18, 2016, in Houston. David J. Phillip / AP

Michael Walter, a spokesman for the Houston Office of Emergency Management, said early Monday that “tremendous rainfall” had been reported over western parts of the city.

Chief Brian Cantrell, with the emergency management agency, said that 40 people were evacuated from a mobile home park, and two shelters had been set up.

“The situation is pretty serious,” said Rosie Torres, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Source:-nbcnews.com

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