Tropical Depression Imelda was drenching the Houston area and other parts of southeast Texas for a second straight day on Wednesday, covering some streets near the coast with water and forcing many schools to close in anticipation of flooding to come.
The storm is expected to keep deluging eastern Texas and parts of Louisiana into Thursday, and has put nearly 8 million people under flash flood watches in those two states.
Houston could see more than 12 inches of rain by the time the storm ends — which would be the highest amount for one storm since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. As many as 20 to 25 inches could fall in isolated areas around East Texas.
Water was filling streets and creeping up to historic buildings Wednesday in Galveston’s Strand District, ABC affiliate KTRK reported. A number of Galveston roads were impassable, the city’s government said.
Roads also were flooding in the Houston area. Several cars stalled Wednesday on a flooded road near Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, leaving drivers waiting for help or for waters to recede.
“We encourage people that if they don’t need to be out in the streets, to please stay home,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said.
Imelda’s winds also have knocked over trees in areas southeast of the city, such as the Clear Lake district, KTRK reported.
Houston’s main school district was open Wednesday, though it canceled after-school activities. Many other districts in the region, including Galveston schools, closed because of the storm, in some cases because of anticipated flooding.
The heaviest rains will push Wednesday afternoon into the Houston area, raising the prospects of flooding, especially in eastern Houston and the Galveston area, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
From Tuesday into Wednesday morning, the storm dropped 14 inches of rain in some areas southwest of Galveston, and 3 to 9 inches of rain in Harris County, where Houston is.