The slow-churning remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda dangerously flooded parts of Texas and Louisiana on Thursday, scrambling rescue crews and volunteers with boats to reach scores of stranded drivers and families trapped in their homes during a relentless downpour that drew comparisons to Hurricane Harvey two years ago.
Officials in Harris County, which includes Houston, said there had been a combination of at least 1,000 high-water rescues and evacuations to get people to shelter. More than 900 flights were canceled or delayed in Houston.
Further along the Texas Gulf Coast, authorities at one point warned that a levee could break near Beaumont in Jefferson County, as the longevity and intensity of the rain quickly came to surprise even those who had been bracing for floods.
A 19-year-old man drowned and was electrocuted while trying to move his horse to safety, according to a message from his family shared by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Crystal Holmes, a spokeswoman for the department, said the death occurred during a lightning storm.
A man in his 40s or 50s drowned when he tried to drive a van through floodwaters near Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston during the Thursday afternoon rush hour, Harris County Judge Ed Gonzalez said.
The National Weather Service said preliminary estimates suggested that Jefferson County was deluged with more than 40 inches of rain in a span of just 72 hours, which would make it the seventh wettest tropical cyclone in US history.