With more than a foot of rain falling in parts of Houston by Monday afternoon and much of the surrounding areas shut down, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in nine counties.
At a late afternoon press conference, Abbott said there had been over 1,000 water rescues. Authorities also were investigating two fatalities to see if they were weather related.
Crews watching the high water on a Houston freeway service road saw an 18-wheeler truck drive directly into high water, Harris County Precinct 5 Sgt. Herbert Martinez said. Workers later found the driver’s body inside the truck.
Officials also were trying to determine if the storm was responsible for the death of a contractor working for the city’s airport system whose body was found in a submerged vehicle.
The floods turned commuting into a nightmare, forced schools in the nation’s fourth-largest city to close and knocked out power to thousands of people who were urged to shelter in place.
Mayor Sylvester Turner told people to stay home to fend off a weather system he called “stubborn.” More rain was projected over the next two to three days although heavy downpours had subsided somewhat by midday and only another half-inch was expected through Monday night, he said.
Rain gauges in parts of Harris County, which includes most of Houston, showed water levels approaching 20 inches since late Sunday night. Ten-inch and higher rainfall amounts were common, particularly in west and north sections of the Southeast Texas area.
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SOURCE: Fox News