Authorities reported the first death of Tropical Storm Imelda, which dumped torrential rains over the Houston area, while rescuers in boats pulled hundreds of people out of flooded cars, the city’s airport temporarily halted flights, and tens of thousands of people lost power on Thursday.
By late afternoon, the rains had mostly subsided, but officials warned millions of people in the area not to move, as it would take a few hours for the floodwaters to drain.
“If you’re at school, stay at school. If you’re at home, stay at home. If you’re at work, stay at work,” said Lina Hidalgo, the Harris County judge, at a press conference as she declared a state of emergency for the Houston area. “Right now, it’s about life safety.”
One person living in southwest of Houston was electrocuted while attempting to move his horse to safety, according to a declaration on the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Facebook website. No further information has been given.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport stopped all travellers for about two hours due to the hurricane, and Governor Greg Abbott proclaimed a catastrophe for more than a dozen counties.
Hundreds of motorists were stuck in their vehicles as some of Houston’s primary roads collapsed, submerging cars. Firefighters, the police and normal citizens were in ships and all-terrain vehicles to catch up individuals caught in their dwellings by the increasing seas.
The hurricane killed around 100,000 individuals in Houston and Southeast Texas, according to accounts from energy firms, while production at oil refineries in the region was shut down or stopped.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said “the city was better prepared to rescue stranded residents and deal with flooding than when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, leading to dozens of deaths in Houston and billions of dollars in damage.” The tiny town of Winnie, some 60 miles (100 km) west of Houston, was badly struck. Officials entered the Riceland Hospital and attempted to retrieve the marooned individuals in their cars after the highways transformed into ponds. Interstate 10, a significant East-West highway, was shut off near Winnie.