Friday, May 27, 2016

Heavy storms hit parts of Texas, triggering emergency responses

Severe storms Thursday lashed parts of southeast Texas, including north of Houston, flooding roads, damaging homes and closing schools.

According to local TV station ABC13, a tornado on Thursday afternoon touched down in Bryan, a city about 160 kilometers northwest of Houston, uprooting trees and damaging some homes, which prompted Bryan's mayor to declare a local state of disaster.

In the northern part of Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city, heavy rains delayed a number of flights and several others were canceled at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport. Some school districts, such as the Brenham Independent School District (ISD), Hempstead ISD, Navasota ISD, Anderson-Shiro ISD and Waller ISD, have decided to cancel or delay classes on Friday in the wake of severe storms.

Houston on Thursday opened its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and increased its flood readiness level to three, which means firefighters and police are preparing for potential rescues of people from high water. The scale has four levels, with four being the lowest and one being the highest.

Officials also have boats and high-water vehicles prepared for rescue calls, a representative at the EOC said Thursday evening.

City officials are working with police and firefighters to coordinate emergency responses. Residents have been urged to stay at home until the heavy rains pass and drivers have also been called on to avoid high water.

The weather service has warned that heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to continue through Sunday.
   [Xinhua -]

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