Imelda unloads feet of rain, flooding as it crawls inland over eastern Texas
More than 3 inches of rainfall per hour overwhelmed the drainage system across roads in Baytown, Texas, on Sept. 18, flooding streets and stranding motorists.
For the latest news updates on Imelda's impact on Texas, click here.
While Imelda has lost wind intensity as it continues to move inland, flooding dangers will continue in eastern Texas through Thursday.
Just one hour after becoming Tropical Depression Eleven at Noon CDT on Tuesday, the rapidly developing system was dubbed Tropical Storm Imelda. Imelda made landfall as a tropical storm near Freeport, Texas, around 1 p.m. CDT Tuesday.
The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression on Tuesday night as it moved farther inland.
Torrential rainfall will continue to be unleashed as Imelda crawls inland. Isolated tornadoes and waterspouts may be spawned. A few tornadoes were reported in Chambers and Harris counties in southeast Texas at midweek.
Significant street, highway and low-lying area flooding are likely from southern Louisiana to the middle of the Texas coast as the rain continues to pour down.
Flooding is likely despite abnormally dry to drought conditions prior to Imelda's arrival.
A general 6-12 inches of rain is likely to fall in this swath with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 36 inches into Friday.
As of early Thursday morning, Imelda, which became a short-lived tropical storm on Tuesday before making landfall in Freeport, Texas, had produced over 28 inches of rain near Hamshire, Texas. Over 17 inches of that rain fell in 6 hours.
On Wednesday night, Beaumont, Texas, was under a flash flood emergency as 5-10 inches of rain poured down on the area with rain continuing to fall.
On Tuesday night, Chigger Creek at Windsong and Cowart's Creek at Cloverfield near Friendswood were nearing their banks and flooding was expected to begin shortly, according to the National Weather Service in Houston.
Some heavy rain and the risk of localized flooding can also extend inland to Lufkin and College Station, Texas.
The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Texas with this feature is a two. The primary risk will be from flooding even though much of the area has been experiencing abnormally dry to drought conditions prior to the storm's arrival.
The worst conditions have been and may continue to be just east and south of Houston into Thursday.
People may want to consider an alternate route away from flood-prone roads as the storm progresses.
The large, slowly-spinning storm will generate rough surf and frequent and strong rip currents from Louisiana to South Texas. Bathers should use extreme caution and avoid venturing too far out into the water.
Rip currents can change in strength and location with the tide cycle.
Tides will run a bit above normal with the risk of minor coastal flooding at times of high tide.
Boaters should expect rough seas with the risk of sudden, intense squalls.
Outside of the heavy rain and thunderstorm area, hot and humid late-summer conditions will prevail over the south-central United States this week.
While the heaviest rain from Imelda will be squeezed out over eastern Texas, some downpours capable of producing isolated flooding are forecast to spread northward over the South Central states into the weekend.
Much of the rain away from the Texas coast will tend to be more on the beneficial side, rather than harmful, however.
Portions of Oklahoma, western Louisiana and western Arkansas are likely to receive some downpours as Imelda's moisture is pulled northward by a non-tropical storm with potentially severe thunderstorms over the northern and central Plains.
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