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Five die in Houston’s submerged ‘historic’ floods


Photo: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle

Photo: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle

Torrential rainfall totaling 18 inches (46 cm) pummeled Houston, causing floods that were believed responsible for five deaths and that snarled transport and turned roads into lakes in the fourth most-populous United States (U.S.) city.

More than 1,000 homes were flooded in Harris County, which contains Houston, and there were more than 1,000 water rescues as scores of neighborhoods and roads were hit by rushing water.

“This is the most I have ever seen in the state of Texas,” Governor Greg Abbott said of the rescues at a news conference, where he declared a state of disaster in nine Texas counties. He warned that flooding risks would remain for several days.

Abbott also said U.S. Internal Revenue Service officials allowed extensions for taxpayers in flooded areas who missed filing deadlines on Monday.

Medical examiners and media reports said five bodies were found and that officials were working to see if those people died because of the high water.

Dozens of horses were rescued from a flooded stable near Cypress Creek. Television stations filmed some of the animals struggling in neck-high currents before Harris County deputies reached them by boat.

Ed Emmett, the top political official for Harris County, signed a disaster declaration for the county. He told a news conference that 13 creeks and water channels designed for drainage had overflowed, causing floods that blocked roads.

Floods also hit highways running through Houston, including Interstate 10, a major U.S. east-west corridor.

Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner, canceled his State of the City speech planned for Monday, instructing all non-essential city employees to stay home.

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