Weather

No Severe Impacts From Imelda As It Moves Through Texas

Coastal counties, including Brazoria, Matagorda and Galveston, got the most rainfall.

Angel Marshman wades through floodwaters from Tropical Depression Imelda after trying to start his flooded car Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Galveston, Texas.

Imelda has deluged parts of Southeast Texas with more than 12 inches of rain, but officials in Houston and surrounding communities said Wednesday that so far there have been no severe impacts from the tropical depression.

Glenn LaMont, deputy emergency management coordinator in Brazoria County, located south of Houston along the Gulf Coast, said that despite the heavy rainfall he has seen no reports of flooded homes or people stranded.

However, he cautioned, “we’ve got two more days to go on this.” “It’s too early to breathe a sigh of relief,” LaMont said.

Coastal counties, including Brazoria, Matagorda and Galveston, got the most rainfall from Imelda. Some parts of the Houston area had received up to 9 inches of rain, while areas of Galveston County had received up to 10 inches.

A rain gauge from the Lower Colorado River Authority indicated that Sargent, a town of about 2,700 residents in Matagorda County, had received more than 20 inches of rain since Tuesday. The National Weather Service said its preliminary data showed more than 10 inches of rain in Sargent.

Karen Romero, who lives with her husband in Sargent, said this was the most rain she has had in her neighborhood in her nine years living there. “The rain (Tuesday) night was just massive sheets of rain and lightning storms. The lightning looked like it was coming in your house,” said Romero, 57.

Romero said her home, located along a creek, was not in danger of flooding as it sits on stilts, like many others nearby.

In the Houston area, the rainfall flooded various roadways, stranding some drivers, and had caused several creeks and bayous to rise to high levels. But Imelda had not caused any major disruptions.

“Even though we’ve done well overnight, we haven’t had any significant amounts of flooding or impacts, we can’t let our guard down just yet,” said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist and director of flood operations for the Harris County Flood Control District in Houston.

Many schools in the Houston and Galveston area canceled classes Wednesday. However, the Houston school district, the state’s largest, remained open.

Imelda, which formed Tuesday, made landfall near Freeport, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64.37 kph).

The National Hurricane Center said Imelda had weakened to a tropical depression and was located about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Houston.

But the National Weather Service said flash flood watches remained in effect through Thursday for southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Imelda is the first named storm to impact the Houston area since Hurricane Harvey , according to the National Weather Service. Harvey dumped nearly 50 inches (130 centimeters) of rain on parts of the flood-prone city in August 2017, flooding more than 150,000 homes in the Houston area and causing an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas.

Meanwhile Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Humberto in the Atlantic Ocean is posing a stronger threat to Bermuda . The Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (193 kph) was about 195 miles (314 kilometers) from Bermuda on Wednesday afternoon.

Tropical Storm Jerry became the 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, though it remained far from land Wednesday. Meteorologists also said newly formed Tropical Storm Lorena in the Pacific Ocean could produce heavy rains and flooding in Mexico by Thursday.
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Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

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