Tropical Depression Imelda may not seem like a large storm, but for residents of southeast Texas and Louisiana, it’s one to look out for.
The National Weather Service issued a major flooding warning for areas north of Houston, Texas, near Sam Houston National Forest, and Beaumont, Louisiana. Residents of these locations have been told to stay off the roads unless they are members of a critical service.
Although the center of the storm is already roughly 110 miles north of Houston, it’s moving slowly, with a speed of just 5 mph. This slow movement can cause significant damage to the coastal regions of southeast Texas and Louisiana, as it is expected to dump up to 3 feet of rain in the area before Saturday, according to NPR. Galveston and other coastal towns have already seen some roadways flood as a result of Imelda’s rains. Residents have been warned to watch out for flash floods.
Imelda’s precipitation can be dangerous, NPR states. Four inches of rain have already fallen in Harris County in just one hour. This can cause swelling of rivers and lakes in the bayous that could create deadly conditions without warning.
According to their Facebook page, the Cajun Navy has already begun carrying out water rescues in Vidor and Beaumont, Louisiana. The non-profit organization has also put out a call for volunteers with “surface drive boat/gatortail” boats. They say they can use volunteers with these types of boats to help carry out water rescues in otherwise inaccessible places. They also say anyone who is in distress should call 911 for assistance, as social media channels aren’t always monitored during storms.
The Coast Guard has set up emergency response teams in Jefferson and Harris counties, as well as in Houston. They also say they have shallow-water rescue teams and helicopters standing by, should they be needed.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport issued a ground stop at 9 a.m. Thursday morning. Those travelers whose itineraries brought them through the Houston airport should check with their airlines for more information regarding their travel plans.
The 2019 hurricane season has already brought significant storms to the Atlantic, but thankfully none has made significant landfall in the U.S. yet. Hurricane Dorian was a close call for Florida, with the Category 5 hurricane making a last minute turn out to sea, instead battering the coast of South Carolina as a much lesser storm.
However, the Bahamas weren’t so lucky, as reported by The Inquisitr. The storm parked itself on top of the Abaco Islands, causing utter devastation and leaving many of the islands’ 300,000 residents homeless. Donations and relief efforts have been pouring in, with celebrities like the Duggar family heading to the island nation to offer help and assistance. Those wishing to aid in the Bahamian relief effort should contact their local charities to see how they can best offer help to the ailing island.
There is still a month and a half left of the 2019 hurricane season. Residents in the Southeast coastal regions of the U.S. can keep their eye on the National Hurricane Center for the most up-to-date information about tropical activity.