Crews have rescued more than 1,000 people in the Houston area because of rising waters caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the rescues have happened in the eastern part of the county because of flooding. A flash flood emergency for the area will remain in effect until 3 pm Thursday.
Officials are urging the public to stay off the roads. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said among those rescued were nine children and employees from a daycare centre that had taken on water in Aldine, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Houston.
Governor Greg Abbott has declared 13 counties disaster areas after heavy rain and flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda swamped parts of Southeast Texas. Abbott on Thursday announced the disaster declaration for Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange and San Jacinto counties.
The National Weather Service said most of Southeast Texas was under a flash flood watch through Friday morning. Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said emergency personnel completed more than 300 high-water rescues Thursdin the town of Winnie, located 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Houston. Hawthorne had no reports of anyone hurt.
Part of a busy interstate in Texas is shut down because of flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda, stranding some drivers on the roadway. Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Sarah Dupre said officials do not know exactly how many people are stranded in their cars on Interstate 10, which is shut down from Beaumont to Winnie.
Dupre said that the department is currently working with local law enforcement on a plan to get those people off the roadway. Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said that the sheriff's office is focusing on high water rescues in Winnie and neighboring Stowell.
Hawthorne said some residents are up on their roofs because of rising floodwaters. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled or delayed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston due to heavy rain and flooding.
Airport officials reported a full ground stop Thursday morning, meaning no flights landing or departing, with flooding on some roads leading to the airport in far north Houston. The flight tracking service FlightAware reported nearly 200 flights cancelled Thursday at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, with more than 300 other flights delayed.
Airport spokeswoman Saba Abashawl said some inbound flights were diverted to William P Hobby Airport, on the south side of Houston.