Houston area preparing for heavy rain, flooding from Imelda | TribLIVE.com
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Houston area preparing for heavy rain, flooding from Imelda

Associated Press
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Houston Chronicle
Felipe Morales works on getting his truck out of a ditch filled with high water during a rain storm stemming from rain bands spawned by Tropical Storm Imelda on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Houston. He was able to get help when a man with a truck helped pull him from the ditch.
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The Galveston County Daily News
Jeremy Franklin, left, with Mitchell Historic Properties, unloads bags of sand at Texas Scuba Adventures, in Galveston, Texas as he and Chad Sterns prepare for possible flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.
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The Galveston County Daily News
A couple crosses Strand Street in Galveston, Texas during a heavy downpour Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Imelda could cause flooding in Galveston County.
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Houston Chronicle
Tropical weather moves over the city of Houston on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.
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Galveston County Daily News
Linda Orndorff, right, adjusts the hood of Candy Lester’s rain poncho as they explore The Strand in Galveston, Texas on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. The two, from Florida, were trying to make the best of the rainy weather. Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Imelda is expected to soak Galveston County and could cause flooding.

HOUSTON — Officials in the Houston area were preparing high-water vehicles and staging rescue boats Tuesday as Tropical Storm Imelda moved in from the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to dump up to 18 inches of rain in parts of Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana over the next few days.

The storm, which formed Tuesday, made landfall near Freeport, Texas, with maximum sustained wind of 40 miles per hour.

Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist and director of flood operations for the Harris County Flood Control District in Houston, said the main threat from Imelda remained the potential for heavy rainfall and flooding.

“We have a few things in our favor. The ground is dry. It’s been dry for a while here as we’ve come through summer,” Lindner said. “The initial parts of this rainfall will go toward saturating the ground.”

Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said the Houston area, along with parts of the upper Texas coast and East Texas, could get “significant rainfall” through Thursday as the storm moves north. Imelda’s rain bands were also stretching across into Louisiana.

Imelda was the first named storm to impact the Houston area since Hurricane Harvey , according to the National Weather Service. Harvey dumped nearly 50 inches of rain on parts of the flood-prone city in August 2017, flooding more than 150,000 homes in the Houston area and causing an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas.

Lindner says while there is the potential for some isolated structure flooding in the Houston area, widespread house flooding from Imelda “doesn’t look likely at this point.”

But Lindner said that residents who live in flood prone areas should still be mindful and take some extra precautions.

Some parts of Harris County and neighboring Galveston County had already received about 4 inches of rain through Tuesday afternoon.

The Galveston school district announced it was canceling classes on Wednesday.

In a tweet Tuesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked residents to be “alert and weather aware.”

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday placed numerous resources on standby across Texas. The Texas Division of Emergency Management will be rostering four boat squads in coastal areas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be moving boats to support the Beaumont area and adjacent regions.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Humberto in the Atlantic Ocean is posing a stronger threat to Bermuda, though it was more than 500 miles away. Meteorologists also said newly formed Tropical Storm Lorena in the Pacific Ocean could produce heavy rain and flooding in Mexico by Thursday.

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