Severe Weather

Man's death blamed on flooding tied to Imelda

HOUSTON (AP) - Authorities say a 19-year-old Southeast Texas man has drowned in floodwaters caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Facebook page reposted a message from the family of Hunter Morrison, saying he was trying to move his horse from floodwaters to safety Thursday when he was electrocuted and drowned 11 miles (18 kilometers) southwest of Beaumont.

The death was reported about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Sheriff's spokeswoman Crystal Holmes says an autopsy won't be performed to establish the cause of death for several days because of the storm.

Meanwhile, Houston officials are appealing to afternoon commuters to remain in their offices and off city roads until flood waters from torrential rains recede.

Mayor Sylvester Turner made a similar appeal to the parents of school children in flood-affected areas of the city.

City emergency officials say hundreds of vehicles are stalled on Houston freeways and roads blocked by high water. Officials appealed to motorists and residents to call 911 only if their lives were in danger, not if they were inconvenienced.

Officials in Houston say there have been more than 1,000 rescues and evacuations because of rising waters caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says the rescues and evacuations caused by the flooding were in the eastern part of the county. A flash flood emergency for the area will remain in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday.

Officials are urging the public to stay off the roads.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says among those rescued were nine children and employees from a daycare center that had taken on water in Aldine, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Houston.

Gov. Greg Abbott has declared 13 counties disaster areas after heavy rain and flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda swamped parts of Southeast Texas.
    
Abbott on Thursday announced the disaster declaration for Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange and San Jacinto counties.
    
The National Weather Service says most of Southeast Texas was under a flash flood watch through Friday morning.
    
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says emergency personnel completed more than 300 high-water rescues Thursdin the town of Winnie, located 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Houston. Hawthorne had no reports of anyone hurt.

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