Local NewsStatewide NewsGov. Abbott Declares State of Disaster as Flooding and Rainfall Threaten Southeast Texas

Gov. Abbott declares a state of disaster as Tropical Depression Imelda brings severe flooding and heavy rainfall to southeastern Texas.
September 19, 2019
Earlier today, Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster as southeastern parts of Texas, including Beaumont, Galveston, and the greater Houston area, experience heavy rainfall and flooding as a result of Tropical Depression Imelda.

“The State of Texas is working closely with local officials and emergency personnel to provide the resources they need to keep Texans safe from Tropical Storm Imelda. I thank our first responders who are acting swiftly to help the communities that are facing this severe weather event. I urge all those in the path of this storm to take the necessary precautions and heed all warnings from local officials,” Abbott said in press release.

Earlier this week, Gov. Abbott elevated the State Operations Center to level 3 (Increased Readiness) and placed additional state resources on standby as the severe weather approached the Texas Gulf Coast.  

After making landfall near Freeport on Tuesday afternoon with maximum sustained winds at 40 miles per hour, Tropical Depression Imelda has brought more than 20 inches of rain to parts of Texas with an expected increase in some areas as the rain continues to fall. 

As the severe weather moves inland, heavy rainfall is expected to continue through Friday, creating severe flooding concerns for the greater Houston area, including Beaumont, Winnie, and Galveston among other southeastern coastal areas. 

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Search and rescue teams are currently being deployed, as organizations, like the Texas Game Warden work with state and local entities conducting search and rescue missions, evacuations, and other high-water rescue efforts.

In Beaumont, the police department is communicating real-time updates about emergency management happenings via Twitter, encouraging citizens to seek high ground and not to drive on access roads or other roadways currently underwater.

“As daylight emerges, PLEASE DO NOT get out on the roads! As of 8:00 a.m. there have been over 590 flood-related calls for services,” one tweet from the Beaumont Police Department read this morning. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is also conveying live updates via Twitter about weather, resource deployment, and road conditions in the Houston area, encouraging people not to drive through standing water and to avoid certain areas when possible.

For Houston, Tropical Depression Imelda is the first named storm to affect the area since Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which brought more than 50 inches of rain to some areas with an estimated cost of $125 billion in damages – a cost total second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

In some areas along the Gulf Coast, school districts have even had to close as a result of the flooding and continuous rainfall. 

According to the National Weather Service, “Tropical Depression Imelda will continue bringing heavy rain to the Upper Texas Coast and northward along the Texas / Louisiana border through Friday. An additional 4-10 inches of rain, and up to 25 inches of storm total in isolated areas may result in flash flooding.”

Over the next couple of days, the severe weather is expected to continue to move inland, bringing rain to parts of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma, while also stretching into parts of southwestern Louisiana.

At the same time, Hurricane Humberto and Tropical Storm Lorena are currently brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean respectively, threatening to bring heavy rains and flooding to parts of Bermuda and Mexico. 


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Sarah McConnell, Reporter for The Texan

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.

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