A Houston Metro bus was submerged in water Thursday at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Courtesy of Aimee Gardner

Gov. Greg Abbott declares emergency amid flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda

Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency Thursday morning due to flooding in southeast Texas from Tropical Storm Imelda.

The declaration will give affected counties access to state resources as they continue to respond to the flooding. The governor previously deployed resources, including water rescue squads, to the area on Monday in preparation for the storm, according to the release.

“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,” Abbott 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.”

The counties included in the disaster declaration are Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange and San Jacinto.

The flooding is drawing comparison to Hurricane Harvey, which dumped more than 50 inches of water on parts of the Houston area and southeast Texas two years ago, though Imelda’s rainfall amounts have not approached that catastrophic 2017 storm.

Imelda’s slow moving thunderstorms have poured three to five inches of rain an hour on some areas since early morning Thursday, according to a report by the national weather service. Parts of Conroe, a city outside Houston, have received more than 11 inches of rain and Galveston has gotten about 4.5 inches, the report says. Flooding has led to road closures, a hospital evacuation and hundreds of water rescues.

Locals have posted photos on Twitter that show water reaching close to their knees and covering the tires of standing cars.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner advised in a tweet that if people are in a safe place, like work or school, they should stay in place for the next three to four hours until the area is more clear of water.

Freeways in the Houston area are flooding, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a tweet. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston also announced it is at a “full ground stop.”

Author: STACY FERNÁNDEZ – The Texas Tribune

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