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Flood emergency declared in Houston

HOUSTON - Officials declared a flood emergency Tuesday in Houston as a series of deadly storms continued to drench the region for a fourth day.

The storm system began causing damage in Oklahoma and more northern parts of Texas over the weekend. Meteorologists say storms that have been virtually parked over Texas for weeks are not yet done, raising the prospect of even more flooding.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared disasters in 37 counties, allowing for further mobilization of state resources to assist.

Texas storms cause houses and trees to be uprooted

Authorities say three people have died in Harris County, Texas - which includes the city of Houston - and between 500 and 700 homes have sustained some level of damage.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker said a lot of the city was unaffected so far, but "it's still a dangerous situation." Parker asked gawkers to stay away from affected areas so rescuers and officials could work unimpeded.

"I want to urge folks not to go sightseeing," Parker said, reports CBS affiliate KHOU in Houston.

About 11 inches of rain have fallen in parts of southwest Houston, leading to the widespread flooding.

Forecast: Risk of severe storms to linger

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Reilly said most of the nine to 11 inches of rain came during a six-hour period, from 9 p.m. Monday to 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Reilly said the Houston suburbs of Richmond and Sugar Land also received about 11 inches of rain.

High water and flooding made driving impossible for many travelers in the Houston area, even those on the city's major highways.

The Houston Chronicle reports Tuesday morning that no injuries have been reported but that dozens of vehicles are stranded in high water throughout the city.

Houston METRO announced that the morning transit services were canceled. Harris County district courts canceled morning jury service. Storms also knocked out power in parts of the city.

After the Houston Rockets won Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, flooding in the area forced hundreds of fans and at least one player to remain at Toyota Center as the heavy rain continued to fall.

Arena officials posted an advisory on the stadium scoreboard advising fans to wait out the storm after the game ended around 11 p.m. Monday. Most left, but about 350 people stayed.

Center Dwight Howard told the Houston Chronicle, that he didn't "think it's smart for anybody to try to be out on this weather."

Elsewhere in Texas, authorities are helping residents to evacuate their homes in a city near Austin after a creek broke its banks and flooded the area.

Hays County commissioner said Tuesday that 30 people are missing in flooding along Blanco River in Central Texas, including 12 members of a family whose vacation home was swept downstream and slammed into a bridge.

Austin County emergency crews have reported no injuries during early Tuesday evacuations from homes in Webberville, some 15 miles east of Austin.

Crews used boats and helicopters to rescue residents from their flooded homes. Authorities have not said how many people have been evacuated from homes in the area.

The city of Austin has warned residents that several of its waste treatment facilities have overflowed due to the flooding, reports CBS affiliate KEYE-TV in Austin. Austin Water says at this time it is unknown the amount of wastewater that was released, but insist it shouldn't pose a public safety hazard.

Torrential rains in Texas cause flash flooding emergency

Recovery teams resumed looking for the 12 members of two families who authorities say are missing after the Blanco River carried their vacation home off its foundation.

Trey Hatt, a spokesman for the Hays County Emergency Operations Center, said Monday night that the "search component" of the mission was over, meaning no more survivors were expected to be found in the flood debris along the Blanco River.

But recovery efforts resumed Tuesday morning, following a long holiday weekend of severe weather.

The storm system also prompted reports of tornadoes across the state and was blamed for four deaths: a man whose body was pulled from the Blanco; a 14-year-old who was found with his dog in a storm drain; a high school senior who died Saturday after her car was caught in high water; and a man whose mobile home was destroyed by a reported tornado.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management also reported four fatalities between Saturday and Monday across the state, which also saw severe flooding and reported tornadoes.

Authorities were also searching for victims and assessing damage just across the Texas-Mexico border in Ciudad Acuna, where a tornado Monday killed 13 people and left at least five unaccounted for.

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