The Houston area is facing “life-threatening” flood conditions, officials warned, as severe weather pummels parts of Texas.

A flood watch is in effect Thursday in southeastern Texas and Louisiana. Numerous flash flood warnings are also in effect, as up to 8 inches of rain has already fallen in some parts of southeastern Texas Thursday. Additional rounds of rain are expected to continue through Friday in these areas.

PHOTO: In this screen grab taken from a video that was posted to social media, cars drive through flood waters in the Houston, Texas, area on May 2, 2024.

In this screen grab taken from a video that was posted to social media, cars drive through flood waters in the Houston, Texas, area on May 2, 2024.

@StormChasterHTX

Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for dozens of counties in Texas on Thursday as severe weather and flooding threaten the state. The declaration will “ensure Texans and their communities receive the assistance and support they need to stay safe,” he said in a statement.

Officials in Harris County also issued a disaster declaration Thursday and called for mandatory evacuations for residents living closest to the banks of the East Fork of the San Jacinto River due to ongoing flooding and heavy rainfall north of the area.

“We want you out of this area,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said during a press briefing on Thursday. “This is a life-threatening situation.”

The river is expected to rise to 77 feet above sea level by Friday — three feet below where it was during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 — Hidalgo said. Typically the river is 45 to 50 feet above sea level, she said.

Those unable to leave will likely be trapped in their homes for two to three days, she warned.

PHOTO: In this screen grab from a video posted on social media, a stranded motorist exits their vehicle on a flooded road in the Houston, Texas, area, on May 2, 2024.

In this screen grab from a video posted on social media, a stranded motorist exits their vehicle on a flooded road in the Houston, Texas, area, on May 2, 2024.

@StormChaserHTX

“Extreme” river flooding is expected to impact central and east Texas river basins through next week, with “historic” releases by lake and reservoir operators amid the heavy rainfall exacerbating flooding conditions, the governor’s office said.

Flooding has caused closures along highways in the region. Abbott’s office said state responders aided with “multiple” high-water rescues in central and southeast Texas overnight while urging residents to monitor forecasts and follow guidance from local emergency officials.

“For Texans in at-risk areas, it is important to remain weather-aware, follow the guidance of state and local officials, and avoid traveling in dangerous flood conditions,” Abbott said.

Residents are also being impacted by power outages amid the severe weather. More than 20,000 Houston-area customers were without power Thursday evening, according to CenterPoint Energy’s outage tracker.



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