TEXAS — The remnants of Imelda will continue weakening Friday as the storm makes its way into northern Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, but it will continue dumping heavy rain.
Parts of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana are still under flash flood watches, the National Weather Service said late Thursday. Parts of Arkansas will also see periods of heavy rain throughout Friday, with rainfall totals reaching up to 4 inches in some areas, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.
In its wake, the storm left some of Houston’s neighborhoods swimming in several feet of water. It is the 7th wettest tropical cyclone in US history, according to the National Weather Service.
“I’m tired of it,” Kingwood-area Sharai Poteet told CNN affiliate KTRK. Poteet told the affiliate that she spent more than $50,000 repairing her home after Hurricane Harvey — which dumped 27 trillion gallons over Texas and Louisiana. “I don’t understand why we don’t have any drainage out here anymore.”
There was at least one storm-related death in Harris County, officials said. A man in his 40s or 50s was pulled from a van found submerged in Houston floodwaters Thursday evening, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. He died after being transported to the hospital.
Imelda dumped more than 15 inches across Harris County, plunging cars and streets under water. Some areas in neighboring Jefferson County saw a whooping 43 inches of water.
Neighbors rescue neighbors
By Thursday night, more than 200 vehicles had been towed in Houston as the floodwaters began to recede, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Residents began ditching their cars after heavy flooding made the roadways impassable.
In Beaumont — an area in Jefferson County — neighborhoods turned into lakes and roads looked more like streams. Officials opened two overnight shelters, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.
And neighbors took it upon themselves to help each other, with one resident telling the affiliate, “we’re just trying to take care of our people.”
Floodwater poured into Beaumont TV station KBMT Thursday morning, forcing the news staff to move to their sister station in Houston, KHOU, to broadcast.
Officials in the area suspended rescue operations until Friday morning, but announced rescue crews will continue responding to life-threatening situations only.
“If you are still in an area with standing water, seek higher ground and shelter in place,” Beaumont police said. “Be patients and only call 911 for emergencies.”
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott declared a state of disaster Thursday for 13 counties.
Comparing Imelda to Harvey
Many southeast Texas residents say the storm was similar — and some said worse — than Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 monster made landfall on Texas and Louisiana two years ago.
That storm broke the US record for rainfall from a single storm, dumping more than 60 inches about 90 miles east of Houston. Harvey left the state in devastation with up to $75 billion in damages.
Misty Walton’s apartment in Vidor, Texas, was inundated with water as remnants from Imelda moved through state.
“Harvey was bad and this is bad too,” Walton said. “People are not even done rebuilding here and it’s happening again.”
She said her apartment and two cars in the driveway were flooded.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. “But like always we pull together and we find a way.”