A STATE of disaster is declared in Texas as Storm Imelda’s floodwater forces 1,000 people to flee their homes” — sending alligators into people’s yards.
Already more than 28 inches of rain has deluged Texas and forecasters fear 40 inches will fall today, bringing floods “worse than Hurricane Harvey”.
The storm has been compared to Harvey, the category four monster which wreaked large-scale destruction two years ago, because of the relentless downpours.
At least two people are dead with rescue crews in boats scrambling to reach stranded drivers and families trapped in their homes.
One of the victims was driving the van and was pulled from the vehicle after some 20 minutes underwater.
Another man was fatally electrocuted southeast of Houston while trying to move his horse to safety, according to police.
Horses have also been rescued from submerged ranches.
I urge all those in the path of this storm to take the necessary precautions and heed all warnings from local officials
Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Alarmingly, alligators were spotted lurking about neighbourhoods after rivers burst their banks and surging waters sent the reptiles into populated areas.
Amid the growing chaos, Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster.
He said: “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 urge all those in the path of this storm to take the necessary precautions and heed all warnings from local officials.”
Hundreds of motorists were stranded in their vehicles as some of the main roads flooded, submerging cars.
Firefighters, police and ordinary citizens were out in boats and all-terrain vehicles to rescue people trapped in their homes by the rapidly rising waters.
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The storm knocked out power to around 100,000 people in Houston and Southeast Texas while work at oil refineries in the area was slowed or halted.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city was better prepared to rescue stranded residents and deal with flooding than when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, leading to dozens of deaths in Houston and billions of dollars in damage.
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