Texas Authorities Rescue Over 200 People, 153 Pets, As Residents Brace For More Flooding

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John Oyewale Contributor
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Authorities in southern Texas rescued at least 224 people and 153 pets from floods late Saturday following recent storms, even as residents batten down for more rain and flooding, according to reports.

Residents and their pets were trapped in their homes and vehicles and it was “really sad to see the impact of people’s livelihoods, homes, infrastructure as well as just the public infrastructure,” Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo told CNN Saturday.

The figures of the rescued stood at 178 people and 122 pets as of Friday, Hidalgo told reporters at a press conference late Saturday, as aired by KHOU 11. Some livestock were still trapped in the area, she added.

The press conference was held at the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, just before Hidalgo would conduct an aerial survey of the flooded areas.

“There have been no confirmed deaths related to the incident, and I haven’t heard about any serious injuries,” Hidalgo told reporters.

Rivers had swollen, the floodwaters were carrying debris, snakes, and rats, and there was the risk of bacterial contamination and chemical waste from stranded cars, Hidalgo added.

The floodwaters cut off Rio Villa and its surrounding areas south of Lake Houston, Hidalgo told reporters. Evacuation orders would not be lifted for the time being as the weather was unpredictable, she added. Residents still in their homes needed to stay put through the weekend and should not risk attempting self-evacuation but call emergency services to assist with evacuation. Some residents around the East Fork of the San Jacinto River were airlifted from their rooftops, Hildalgo tweeted Friday.

The floods nearly swept away a woman attempting to go and check on their home despite official warnings, Hidalgo revealed. (RELATED: Intense Video Shows Truck Driver Scrambling To Escape Rapidly-Sinking Vehicle)

“Numerous severe thunderstorms remain likely Monday afternoon into the overnight hours across the central & southern Great Plains,” the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) of the Center of the National Weather Service (NWS) posted late Sunday morning. “All hazards will be possible, including the potential for strong tornadoes.”

Various counties across Texas had already witnessed tornadoes, hail the size of softballs, and heavy rains causing rivers to reach the 2017 Hurricane Harvey levels since early April and earlier, according to CNN.

When asked regarding what kind of resources the federal and state governments might be need to mitigate the anticipated eventualities, Hidalgo told CNN she expected grants or low-interest loans from the federal government towards setting up recovery centers and meeting the needs of affected residents.

Hidalgo thanked the first responders for their round-the-clock work during the press conference.

Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, comprising the southern Great Plains, “regularly experience some of the most extreme weather on the planet,” according to the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.