Flood watch extended for Houston as more heavy rain is expected throughout weekend

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A flood watch has been extended into Sunday for Houston following catastrophic flooding that turned backyards and streets into rivers and prompted water rescues in nearby communities.

Parts of South Texas, including Harris County, home to Houston, have been hit with heavy rain. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county government’s top executive, declared a disaster Thursday as mandatory evacuations were ordered along the East Fork of the San Jacinto River.

Photos posted on social media by Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez showed streets completely covered as first responders brought residents to safety.

A firefighter carries a resident evacuated in a boat.
The Conroe firefighter carries a resident evacuated in a boat on Thursday in Conroe, Texas.Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

“Heroes,” Gonzalez captioned a series of photos of rescuers carrying small children and dogs.

Hidalgo said in a video posted Friday night that the water along the East Fork of the San Jacinto River almost completely covered mailboxes in some areas and had reached up to the roofs of homes in others.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said it rescued 73 people and 42 animals between Tuesday and Saturday morning. At a news conference on Saturday, Hidalgo said the numbers had increased to 178 people and 122 pets rescued across the county.

In Montgomery County, Texas, 52 people were rescued from “life-threatening situations” and 338 needed to be evacuated from their homes, said Trey Baxter with the Montgomery County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. More than 90 animals were also evacuated, he said.

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The American Red Cross was providing aid to residents in Texas and had nine shelters open.

“Since sheltering operations began we, along with help from our local, county, and state partners, have provided more than 370 overnight stays for nearly 230 residents,” the organization said in a statement Saturday. “As of last night, we had more than 200 people in our care. Our teams are ready to respond should the demand increase.”

Four million people across the Southern High Plains are at risk for strong to severe thunderstorms Saturday night, including the Texas cities of Austin, Odessa, Lubbock, and Abilene. Hail, a few tornadoes, and damaging wind gusts are all possible.

In West Texas, multiple tornadoes were reported, but it wasn’t immediately clear if casualties or serious damage resulted.

The National Weather Service office in Midland said trained spotters reported two, including one near Kermit, and one along Highway 285 south of Fort Stockton. A third was described as a “possible tornado” in Midland, according the the office’s social media account on X.

Just before 10 p.m., the office said tornado and severe thunderstorm watches for its coverage area in West Texas had been canceled for the night.

A flood watch had been in effect for Houston until 7 p.m. Friday but was extended into Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Houston said in a post on X. An additional 1 to 3 inches of rain is possible Saturday night into Sunday. 

Cars and the tops of mailboxes submerged in water.
Cars and the tops of mailboxes submerged near The Woodlands on Friday.Kirk Sides / Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

The agency said isolated thunderstorms should be expected but the main focus will be another round of heavy rainfall.

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“Stay weather aware!” the agency wrote. “River flooding continues; stay away from floodwaters!”

Other parts of the country have also been hit with dangerous weather. Rainfall will extend over parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and east Texas by Sunday with a lower risk for severe weather. About 18 million in this region are under flood alerts.

In Las Vegas, the National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning and said possible gusts between 40 to 60 mph are expected.

The weather led to the cancellation of Usher’s Lovers & Friends Festival on Saturday. The festival said in a post on X that ticketholders who used Front Gate Tickets will receive a refund within 30 days.

Usher said he was “disappointed” about the cancellation and “was working on something special to express my heartfelt for each and every one of you who continue to support me.”

On the West Coast, a low-pressure system continues to push onshore, bringing rain, mountain snow, and gusty winds to the region. Wind alerts are in place for 9 million people in the region, including Las Vegas, Reno, Nevada and Santa Barbara, California.

Northern California to Washington will see heavy rain Saturday. Showers will gradually dip south and east towards the Rockies Saturday night and into Sunday.

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