Houston flood death toll rising

  • 21/04/2016
Flood waters cover the area of FM 1463 at IH-10 in Fort Bend County, Texas (Reuters)
Flood waters cover the area of FM 1463 at IH-10 in Fort Bend County, Texas (Reuters)

By Erwin Seba

At least nine people have died and some 1150 homes have been damaged in flooding triggered by torrential downpours in the Houston area this week, as forecasts predict more rain.

Eight of those killed were found in vehicles that had been in flooded areas, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and a local sheriff said on Wednesday, adding that medical examiners were working to confirm the causes of death.

The National Weather Service said more rain is on tap for the city, the country's fourth largest, after a record-setting drenching that dumped as much as 45 cm on some parts of the Houston area on Monday.

The weather service has issued a flood watch from central Texas through Houston and into large parts of Louisiana.

There have been more than 1200 water rescues during the recent flooding, with emergency crews shuttling people by boat to dry ground and picking up motorists whose cars were caught in rushing waters.

The Houston Independent School District, the country's seventh-largest school district, said it would reopen on Wednesday after the flooding caused hundreds of schools to close earlier this week.

Heavy storms can overwhelm the drainage channels that move water from Houston back to the Gulf of Mexico, particularly if the ground is already saturated.

The city faced similar widespread flooding during a storm last May and Tropical Storm Allison's torrent in 2001.