As Rains Lash Parts of Texas, Residents Brace for More Flooding

Schools were closed, roads were flooded and residents were told to evacuate as heavy rain continued to lash the Houston area and other parts of Southeast Texas on Friday, placing thousands of people under flood warnings.

Flood warnings were issued on Friday for a large section of southeast Texas, including suburbs near Houston, through Saturday morning.

The prospect of more rain came after Judge Lina Hidalgo of Harris County issued a disaster declaration on Thursday as the San Jacinto River, on the outskirts of Houston, continued to rise.

People in neighborhoods near the east fork of the river were ordered to evacuate.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County said on social media that neighborhoods near the San Jacinto River could see dangerous flooding.

“Structures on the ground will be flooded to rooftop levels,” Sheriff Gonzalez said. “Elevated structures will be flooded. The rapid rise, of many feet, is expected late today into Saturday.”

On Friday, Harris County’s top executive, Ms. Hidalgo, repeated the mandatory evacuation notice for residents half a mile from the river and to the east, saying they were “extremely vulnerable,” with a few hundred structures at risk of flooding.

“This threat is ongoing and it is going to get worse,” she said at a news conference on Friday.

Up to 15 people overnight and 11 people on Thursday had been rescued from flooded vehicles or homes, she said.

Mark Sloan, the Harris County homeland security and emergency management coordinator, said at the news conference that law enforcement officials and emergency workers would be put at risk if people did not evacuate as told. Several school districts were closed, Ms. Hidalgo said.

Mayor John Whitmire of Houston said at a news conference on Friday afternoon that those in low-lying areas should evacuate before flooding worsens overnight. “Do not wait till it’s too late,” he said.

Damaging winds, possible hail and isolated tornadoes were possible, forecasters in the Houston area said.

Some parts of the Houston area had recorded up to 5 inches of rain between Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon, Tim Cady, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston said, adding that more rain was expected this weekend.

A lull in the rain was expected on Friday night, but more thunderstorms in the Houston area could bring up to 3 inches or more on Saturday into Sunday, Mr. Cady said. The additional rain could create flooding, Mr. Cady said.

“With all the rain we’ve gotten in the past week, it’s not going to take much new rainfall to see some flash flooding because the soil just can’t take any more,” he said.

There was a risk of excessive rainfall through Saturday morning, stretching from West Texas to the Gulf Coast and into the Tennessee Valley, the National Weather Service said.

Judson Jones and Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.


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