Houston Hit Hard With Up To 16 Inches Of Rain; Widespread Flooding; Schools Closed | KERA News

Houston Hit Hard With Up To 16 Inches Of Rain; Widespread Flooding; Schools Closed

Apr 18, 2016

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.

The National Weather Service says the area received up to 16 inches of rain in the 24 hours through Monday morning. A flash flood watch is in effect for the Houston area through Tuesday morning.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that the heavy rainfall has moved to the south and that the city is anticipating only about another half-inch the rest of the day.

Turner says officials are trying to determine if the body of a person found in a vehicle submerged in water is a storm-related death. Turner says the person is believed to be a contractor working for the city's airport system but authorities don't have enough information to confirm the cause of death. The fatality would be the first related to the flooding.

Houston Public Media reports: "Judge Ed Emmett has signed disaster declaration for Harris County, over 1,000 homes were flooded Monday morning. Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert has signed a local disaster declaration for Fort Bend County as well. Emmett says some parts of town have experienced more severe flooding than ever recorded."

[For more updates, visit Houston Public Media.]

Horse rescue underway

Emergency responders have tried to reach several horses trapped in high water near a Houston-area stable where flooding nearly reached the roofs of some buildings.

People driving by on a road near the flooded area stopped to yell encouragement to animals struggling to keep their heads above water Monday.

The horses were seen trying to get over what appeared to be a flood-inundated fence in the area near Cypress Creek.

Harris County officials were trying to reach the Texas Animal Health Commission to try to get a rescue team to the stables just north of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. A number of roads near the airport were flooded Monday.

The fate of the horses wasn't immediately known.

A day off for students

More than 1 million students in the Houston area had a weather-related day off Monday because of storms that dumped as much as 16 inches of rain.

More than 40 districts and universities canceled school as heavy rain and flooding inundated parts of Harris County and threatened nearby areas.

The closures included the Houston Independent School District, the largest in Texas with about 215,000 students, plus Texas Southern University and the Houston Community College System.

The more than 40,000-student University of Houston cited street flooding in calling off classes. Rice University also canceled school Monday.

100,000+ left without power

More than 110,000 Houston area homes and business have lost electricity during storms that flooded roads and grounded hundreds of flights.

CenterPoint Energy crews worked Monday to restore the power lost when up to 16 inches of rain fell in the area.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston reported an increase in the number of flights canceled to 410 as the storms flooded roads near the airport. Hobby Airport has canceled more than 135 flights.

TV reporter helps rescue stranded motorist

A TV reporter has helped to rescue a man who drove his car into a flooded underpass in Houston.

In the incident captured on video Monday, KTRK reporter Steve Campion yells, "Dude, you've got to get out of the car!"

The man opens the passenger door and crawls out into the water as the reporter yells: "Leave the car! Swim!"

The driver swims toward Campion, who wades out into the waist-deep water and extends his hand.

As the car slowly sinks under water, the driver tells Campion that he's OK and that he didn't think the water was so deep.