Texas governor declares state of disaster

By  | 

AUSTIN, Tex. (AP) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster Thursday in several counties as heavy rain from Imelda continued to inundate parts of the state.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster Thursday in several counties as heavy rain from Imelda continued to inundate parts of the state. (CNN VAN photo)

“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.

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

Authorities say emergency workers have rescued about 200 people from a small Texas town hit hard by flooding from Tropical Depression Imelda.

Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says about 50 additional households were on a waiting list to be rescued Thursday in the town of Winnie, about 60 miles east of Houston.

He says airboats from the sheriff's office and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department were helping with the rescues, along with high-water vehicles.

Hawthorne told The Associated Press that the town "looks like a lake."

He says it's the worst storm-related flooding he's seen after going through hurricanes including Rita in 2005, Ike in 2008, and Harvey two years ago.

In Beaumont, police said on Twitter that they've had requests for more than 250 water rescues and 270 evacuations.

The National Weather Service 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 15 mph.