Tropical Storm/Depression Imelda brought Houston, and the Lake Houston area in particular, to a standstill Sept. 19 as record rain fell.

Some areas received more than 30 inches, and one spot in Jefferson County got 43.15 inches, according to the National Weather Service office in Houston.

At least one death is storm related, officials said. A man who was in a van that drove into deep water Thursday died.

- Driver loses life on Will Clayton Parkway -

Authorities identified the driver as Raul Eliseo Rivas-Hernandez, 56, and was one of at least three people extracted from a submerged van, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

Rivas-Hernandez was approaching a freeway when he paused briefly, then drove into water that was 8 feet deep, causing the van to submerge, Gonzalez said.

City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner deployed emergency vehicles and staff early Thursday morning as a precaution but as the day went on, those resources and much more were needed.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo personally went door-to-door in Kingwood ferrying stranded residents to safety.

There were concerns for neighborhoods along the river and near Lake Houston, where a torrent of rain fell as Imelda — a tropical storm that weakened to a tropical depression — passed over.

Acevedo tweeted during the day that HPD was conducting rescues and launching boats on Kingwood Drive. By mid-afternoon, the list of impassable streets was lengthy.

Humble ISD closed, allowing thousands of families to stay safely in their homes, but the rain breached district buildings anyway.

Dr. Elizabeth Fagen, superintendent, reported that Kingwood and Kingwood Park high schools took on water, just 25 months after Hurricane Harvey damage.

“There is some water in KHS. We are assessing and working to get it cleaned up. Drains were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of rain and could not keep up. We are looking forward to the implementation of the plan we have with FEMA for flood gates, etc.,” she said.

Humble ISD and other nearby school districts remained closed Friday, Sept. 20. Administration officials assessed damages while residents mopped up and dried out.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman had deployed high-water rescue vehicles and equipment throughout Precinct 4 on Wednesday. One of his officers, Deputy Ponce, rescued a senior citizen who was stranded in his vehicle near Atascocita Road and Will Clayton Parkway.

Herman reported that not even an overwhelming storm stopped some from crime.

“Our deputies were dispatched to a domestic call in the 11600 block of Vale Run. When the deputies arrived, a man at the home pulled a weapon on them and a gun fight occurred. The man was shot multiple times but no deputies were injured,” Herman said.

A Recovery Center opened Monday, Sept. 23 at Kingwood United Methodist Church. It is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.

Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.

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