‘Worse than Harvey’: State of disaster is declared in Texas where a young man has died after being struck by lightning while trying to rescue people from ‘catastrophic’ floodwaters, and where gators are seen lurking in front yards

Thursday, September 19, 2019
By Paul Martin

A total of 28 inches of rain has fallen on parts of Texas and forecasters predict up to 35 inches through Friday
Authorities describe it as ‘worse than Hurricane Harvey’ – the most extreme flooding event in US history
Dozens of people have needed to be rescued, and parts of the state are completely impassable
There have been no reports of deaths – but authorities warn that the flooding is ‘major’ and ‘catastrophic’
Meanwhile, newly formed Hurricane Lorena threatens to cause flooding along coast of southern Mexico
Category 3 Hurricane Humberto blew off rooftops, toppled trees and knocked out power in Bermuda
Authorities said on Thursday that there have been no fatalities reported during Hurricane Humberto

19 September 2019

‘Major, catastrophic flooding’ from Tropical Depression Imelda has devastated parts of Texas, with the state’s governor declaring a state of disaster and local authorities calling the flooding ‘worse than Hurricane Harvey’, which was the most extreme flooding event in US history.

At least one person has died after being struck by lightning while trying to rescue people. Hunter Morrison was killed earlier on Thursday, with friends and family posting tributes to the young man on Facebook.

One said: ‘I’m at a loss for words. Hunter Morrison was killed by lightening while he was out rescuing. Young man from Fannett. There is nothing greater than laying down your life for another. Heaven is rejoicing. Please pray for family.’

More than 200 people needed to be rescued by Thursday afternoon, and at least one hospital was evacuated, and road close as the relentless rain continues to beat down.

Imelda has battered Texas with up to 28 inches of rain in some areas, and forecasters are still warning that the tropical depression could bring up to 35 inches of rain to the state through Friday.

In Houston, a flash flood watch remained in effect until 7pm Thursday but the city itself has been spared from the heaviest rainfall.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a tornado warning Thursday morning for Chambers County, including the town of Winnie, where a flash flood emergency warning is also in place.

Forecasters said a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was moving through the area at 15mph. Authorities say high-water rescues are underway in some areas because of rising water.

Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in 13 counties, saying it ‘has caused widespread and severe property damage and threatens loss of life’.

‘The State of Texas is working closely with local officials and emergency personnel to provide the resources they need to keep Texans safe from Tropical Storm Imelda,’ Abbott said in a statement.

‘I thank our first responders who are acting swiftly to help the communities that are facing this severe weather event. I urge all those in the path of this storm to take the necessary precautions and heed all warnings from local officials.’

The counties included in the disaster declaration are Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange and San Jacinto.

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