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Imelda moves slowly out of Houston area after dropping more than 10 inches of rain

Texas, Louisiana brace for Imelda flooding

Imelda, now a tropical depression, moved slowly northeast out of the Houston area and toward southeast Texas and Louisiana after dropping more than 10 inches of rain in some parts. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no widespread reports of high water on freeways or in structures in Houston, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU reported.

A tornado touched down near Highlands in east Harris County just before 5 p.m. CT, KHOU reported. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told KHOU his deputies spotted damage to some small structures there, along with tree damage and downed power lines. 

There were no reports of injuries. 

The National Hurricane Center said flash flood watches were still in effect for southeast Texas and parts of southwest Louisiana for Wednesday evening. As of 4 p.m. CT Wednesday, Imelda was located about 80 miles north-northeast of Houston and about 80 miles east of College Station, Texas. 

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

Heavy rain is expected to move out of the Houston area on Wednesday night, but Imelda is expected to still rag in showers on Thursday, according to KHOU. 

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.

Tropical Weather Gulf
A car drives through floodwaters from Tropical Depression Imelda Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Houston. David J. Phillip / AP

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.

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