Barges break loose and strike a bridge near Houston after Imelda forces 400 water rescues and strands 300 drivers

The weakening remnants of Imelda will make their way Friday into northern Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana as misery lingers in Houston, even as floodwaters sta...

Posted: Sep 20, 2019 8:52 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2019 10:45 AM

The weakening remnants of Imelda will make their way Friday into northern Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana as misery lingers in Houston, even as floodwaters start to recede.

Flooding on Thursday left some Houston neighborhoods swimming in several feet of water, forcing authorities to perform more than 400 high-water rescues, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said. There were 323 stranded vehicles and 22 major accidents, the office added.

The chaos continued early Friday, when officials got a report that nine barges had broken away from their moorings on the San Jacinto River, the US Coast Guard said.

At least one barge struck the westbound bridge along Interstate 10, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Danny Perez said.

Officials are assessing the eastbound bridge for damage, with a full assessment planned when water level recede, Perez said.

Both bridges were closed to traffic Friday morning, and vessel movement beneath them remained suspended following strong currents Thursday evening, Perez said.

At least one loose barge is carrying an unknown hazardous substance, Perez said.

There have been at least two storm-related deaths, officials said. A man in his 40s of 50s was pulled Thursday evening from a van submerged in floodwater, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. The man died after being taken to a hospital.

And in Jefferson County, 19-year-old Hunter Morrison died when he was electrocuted, then drowned, while trying to move his horse, according to a statement from his family posted at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page.

Imelda -- the seventh wettest tropical cyclone in US history, per the National Weather Service -- dumped more than 15 inches of rain across Harris County. Some areas in neighboring Jefferson County saw a whopping 43 inches of rain.

Parts of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana remain under flash flood watches, the National Weather Service said Friday morning.

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.

Neighbors rescue neighbors

More than 200 vehicles had been towed in Houston by Thursday night, as floodwaters began to recede, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

Residents began ditching their cars after heavy flooding made the roadways impassable.

In Beaumont, a city in Jefferson County, neighborhoods turned into lakes and roads looked more like streams. Two overnight shelters were opened, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.

Some neighbors helped each other, with one resident telling the station, 'We're just trying to take care of our people.'

Floodwater poured Thursday morning into Beaumont TV station KBMT, forcing the news staff to move to Houston sister station KHOU to broadcast.

Officials urged residents to get to safety.

'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 two years ago in Texas and Louisiana.

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.

'I'm tired of it,' Kingwood-area resident Sharai Poteet told CNN affiliate KTRK.

Poteet spent more than $50,000 repairing her home after Harvey, she said, after that storm dropped 27 trillion gallons of water on Texas and Louisiana.

'I don't understand why we don't have any drainage out here anymore,' she said this week.

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.'

Her apartment and two cars in the driveway were flooded, she said.

'I don't know what we're going to do,' Walton said. 'But like always, we pull together, and we find a way.'

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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