Evacuations ordered, homes damaged in Texas as rivers rise to Hurricane Harvey level


Severe storms and heavy rains have intensified flooding in Texas, sweeping away vehicles, damaging homes and prompting evacuations.

This week’s storms are the latest in a string of brutal weather events to hit the state since early April. Dozens of hurricanes have struck from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, softball-sized hail in parts of the state and months of rain in East Texas that have raised rivers to levels not seen since the disaster. Flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Some communities north of Houston received nearly two months of rain Thursday. The rains submerged roads and overflowed rivers, leading to evacuations and water rescues.

In Walker County, about 70 miles northwest of Houston, officials are calling the flooding historic.

“This is a historic flood for Walker County. We’ve had more flooding from this event than we did during Hurricane Harvey,” Walker County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Sherry Bekota told CNN.

According to Bekoda, two communities along the Trinity River are underwater and can only be accessed via high-water vehicles.

“All roads in Walker County were completely flooded Monday night and into Tuesday,” Bekoda said. “We still have approximately 43 roads that are flooded with several large washouts and two bridges that have been compromised.”

At least 42 high water rescues have been carried out in the district since April 28, he added.

Meanwhile, in Polk County, about 80 miles northeast of Houston, about 700 homes were flooded, according to emergency management officials who warned that additional rainfall could increase flood levels in the coming days.

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A total of 1,000 homes in the county are in mandatory evacuation zones, Polk County Judge Sidney Murphy told CNN. A flood warning is in effect across the district on Friday.

The judge said that they are concerned and observing as the flooding in the north of the district will affect the district.

“As rain continues to fall across East Texas and creeks and rivers rise, flood levels may increase. Be aware of changing flood levels along the Trinity River and all low-lying areas. If you want to leave, please do so now! ,” the Office of Emergency Management said in a recent Facebook post.

In parts of Harris County, north of Houston, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Thursday for residents on the east side of the East Fork of the San Jacinto River. The river hit major flood stage Thursday and is forecast to peak Saturday morning, just a few feet shy of record levels during Harvey.

“We want to get you out of this area … this is a life-threatening situation,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a message. Conference.

According to Hidalgo, the expected level of water rise could affect tall structures and reach roofs or power lines.

Drone Bros

Flooding in Livingston, Texas.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for parts of San Jacinto County and Polk County due to flooding, with voluntary evacuations for Montgomery County.

Disaster declarations are active for a third of Texas counties, after Gov. Greg Abbott expanded storm-related declarations in response to flooding, according to a news release. Additional counties may be added in the coming days, especially as more storms are in the forecast.

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Parts of East Texas have received three to seven times the normal rainfall over the past three to four weeks. Repeated heavy rains have soaked the soil, leaving many areas highly prone to both flash and river flooding. Almost a foot of rain fell in some places Thursday into Friday morning, the final blow. Rain will continue through Friday evening, with 1 to 2 inches possible.

The worst flooding is confined to southeast Texas, where at least a dozen river gauges — including parts of the San Jacinto and Trinity rivers — were at major flood stage, the highest level, as of Friday morning. Many more sites are forecast to experience major flooding by the end of the week and could meet or exceed record levels set during Harvey.

Created by Hurricane Harvey A widespread flood disaster in Houston After 30 to 40 inches of rain fell across the entire metro in 48 hours. While this week’s flooding was significant, it was much less widespread north of where Harvey’s worst rain fell.

Tornadoes with severe thunderstorms moved north and south of the Abilene area in West Texas as heavy rain left East Texas flooded. According to the Storm Prediction Center, there were eight tornado reports on Thursday.

A “large and very dangerous” tornado hit the towns of Hodges and Hawley — about 10 miles north of Abilene — Thursday evening.

About 30 houses in Hawley were torn apart by the tornado’s winds, with some entire sections of houses completely exposed. Cars in the area were also damaged by the flying debris. There were “numerous” injuries but no fatalities as of Friday morning, Hawley Police Chief Brad Wilson told CNN.

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At least one area school district is setting aside time for students to study from home or recover Friday, following Thursday evening’s damaging tornadoes.

“The Hawley community has been hit very hard and we have many families who have lost their homes,” the Hawley Independent School District said in a Facebook post.


A house damaged by Thursday’s storms between Hawley and Hodges, Texas.

Parts of Texas are likely to experience severe thunderstorms Friday afternoon and evening. A Category 3 out of 5 severe thunderstorm watch is in place for parts of west-central Texas, including the hard-hit areas on Thursday.

CNN’s Andy Rose, Joe Sutton and Paradise Afshar contributed to this report.

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