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Houston disaster over 'record' flood

BBC News BBC News 19/04/2016
Houston flood victims © AP Houston flood victims

Flash flooding and more rain is possible in Houston, a day after record rainfall killed five people.

Justin Nelzen, in red vest, joins others as they work to rescue up to 70 horses along Cypresswood Drive near Humble along Cypress Creek, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Houston: More than 70 horses were rescued from rising waters © AP More than 70 horses were rescued from rising waters

Meteorologists said some 17.6in (44.7cm) of rain fell on the city on Monday alone, levels that national officials said were "historic".

A resident looks out from the second floor as floodwaters surround his apartment complex Monday, April 18, 2016, in Houston: Rains are expected to ease by Tuesday © AP Rains are expected to ease by Tuesday

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of emergency in Houston, where 70,000 people were left without power.

Houston flood victims © AP Houston flood victims

Rivers burst their banks in the fourth-largest US city and 1,200 people were rescued from rising floodwaters.

At least 1,000 homes have flooded, with the number likely to rise. City officials have turned a large shopping centre into an evacuation centre.

As well as telling people not to drive in the fast-flowing waters, city officials warned against allowing children to play in waters that are likely to contain snakes and ants.

Among the worst-hit areas is Greenspoint, a poor, mainly Hispanic district of more than 112,000 people to the north of the city centre.

Footage broadcast in Texas showed Greenspoint families moving belongings and children through floodwaters on air beds and inside a refrigerator.

"Do not think the city is not seeing you," Mayor Sylvester Turner told Greenspoint residents in a press conference.

"It's a situation where all throughout the city, and quite frankly all throughout our region, we're dealing with high water."

At least one of those who died was found in a submerged car, local media reported.

Close to 70 horses were rescued from a flooded stable before police officers were able to lead them to safety through floodwaters.

One Houston flood official said waters recorded in one area were 40ft (12 metres) higher than the previous record.

The city, on the Gulf of Mexico, is prone to heavy rains, and has seen a number of major flooding events in the last year alone.

However, this flood is the largest to strike the city since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, which led to 23 deaths across the state, the City of Houston Twitter account said.

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