Flooding Hits Parts of Texas as Imelda Moves Inland; Tornado Causes Damage Near Baytown

Sean Breslin and Jan Wesner Childs
Published: September 19, 2019

Heavy rain and street flooding were reported in parts of coastal Texas as Tropical Depression Imelda moved across the state, and on Wednesday evening, a confirmed tornado left some structures damaged east of Houston.

At about 5 p.m. local time, numerous witnesses reported a tornado near the Baytown and Highlands areas, some 20 miles east of downtown Houston. Shortly after, some structures were seen with damage, which was believed to have been caused by the twister.

(MORE: Check the Latest Forecast for Imelda

There were no reports of injuries in the immediate aftermath of the tornado. But in the Main Street area of Baytown, several homes were damaged, and the cleanup began shortly after the storm passed.

"This is bad. This is terrible ... because everything was replaced here and now it's not," an unidentified man whose brother's mobile home was damaged by the tornado told KTRK-TV.

Floods Affect Travel in Some Areas

A photojournalist with the Houston Chronicle posted video on social media that showed street flooding in Freeport, where more than 15 inches of rain had fallen. Residents there said the floodwaters had come dangerously close to their homes before starting to recede.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

Water also rose close to the entrances of some historic Galveston buildings on Wednesday morning, according to KTRK-TV.

The station reported that several roads were impassable and some cars had become stranded in high water. The City of Galveston said on Twitter that some public transportation services had been suspended due to the weather.

Schools Closed, Houston on Alert

Galveston Independent School District announced that no classes would be held Thursday, and Livingston ISD said there would be a two-hour delayed start, according to KHOU. At least two dozen school districts across the region had canceled classes on Wednesday, including Galveston, High Island ISD and Texas City ISD. Several local colleges, including Houston Community College campuses and Galveston College were also closed.

While no severe impacts had been reported in Houston, Harris County Flood Control meteorologist Jeff Lindner warned that residents should remain alert.

"We are a little bit concerned going into the afternoon if we get some of those intense rainfalls and some of these bands" from the storm, Lindner told The Weather Channel.

Heavy rainfall overnight and this morning had already saturated the ground in some areas, he added.

There were reports of cars stalled in standing water in the Houston area, and a frontage road on the south loop of Interstate 610 was blocked early Wednesday morning when part of the freeway embankment gave way and slid onto the road, KHOU reported.

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