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Extreme flooding prompts hundreds of rescues in Texas

In some neighborhoods, the only way to get around is by boat.
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Posted at 1:39 PM, May 06, 2024

Fast-rising floods inundated neighborhoods in Eastern Harris County, Texas, near Houston, prompting hundreds of rescues of people and pets stranded on rooftops and in their homes.

The threat of floods affected millions over the weekend, from Oklahoma to Arkansas to Texas.

Rapid rainfalls — almost 2 feet in a week in some places — put reservoirs at high levels at high speed.

In low-lying Channelview, Texas, neighbors nervously eyed the water.

“Well, you can lose everything you have. I don’t have much,” said resident Timothy Douglas.

In Liberty County, which is 40 miles northeast of Houston, Texas Game Wardens pulled people to safety.

“This is the worst flooding that I've ever seen in my career, and I am a native of the area, so I just, I can't remember a time when we've had the river quite this high,” said Texas Game Warden Captain Ryan Hall.

The Trinity River is over its banks, making life difficult.

“There’s nobody out around there no more,” said Liberty County resident Elizabeth Davis. “It’s gonna be washed out probably, cause it's already up in my neighbor’s house, my friend’s house — it’s in everybody’s house out there.”

Davis was forced out by flooding and is staying on higher ground with her family.

Conditions stranded some, and left others to navigate through the mess.

A man walks through floodwaters

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Scripps News on the ground in Liberty noted that the only way around the neighborhood was by boat.

“It was this bad during Harvey,” said Liberty resident Darlene Duff.

Darlene and her husband Terry Duff recounted the disaster of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, and said that’s the last time the water got this high.

“So the neighborhoods, all the houses seem to be fine, but you just can’t get to the houses. You have to park behind somebody’s house that has creek access, so we park the boats there, and then we drive in from there. You got the roads cut off,” Darlene said.

Darlene and Terry’s boat presents a lifeline in potentially life-threatening conditions.

“There's a lot of people in here. What, probably 300 or so. And we help them get to town and get back and, you know, whatever they need,” said Terry.

Seven years ago, the historic Hurricane Harvey dumped rainfall that flooded thousands of homes and resulted in more than 60,000 rescues across Harris County, Texas.

Houston and its surrounding cities are some of the most flood-prone metropolitan areas in the country.