September 19, 2019 / 2:22 PM / a month ago

Torrential rains from storm Imelda submerge parts of southeast Texas

Sept 19 (Reuters) - Dangerous flash floods inundated parts of southeastern Texas on Thursday as Tropical Depression Imelda dumped the last of its rains, with the National Hurricane Center predicting rain totals up to 35 inches (89 cm) in some coastal areas.

Three days of rains in the Houston area stranded motorists on flooded roads, confined people to their homes and prompted the evacuation of at least one hospital, according to media reports, local officials and social media posts.

Millions of people in and around Houston and nearby western Louisiana remained under flash flood watches on Thursday as the National Weather Service predicted a final 4 to 10 inches (10 to 25 cm) of rainfall before petering out.

Some areas experienced the worst flooding since Hurricane Harvey submerged Houston two years ago, killing more than 60 people. Houston appeared to be spared the worst impacts of Imelda this week, though some city roads were flooded on Wednesday.

The small town of Winnie, about 60 miles (97 km) east of Houston, had been badly hit by Thursday morning. Officials there evacuated Riceland Hospital and tried to rescue people marooned in their vehicles after roads turned into lakes.

“The community of Winnie is being devastated by rising water,” the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, advising residents that the Red Cross had opened a shelter and that emergency officials were rescuing people by boat.

Parts of Interstate 10, a major highway, were closed near Winnie.

Imelda made landfall as a tropical storm near Freeport, Texas on Tuesday.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Will Dunham

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