Houston braces for more flooding; Louisiana declares state of emergency

Doug Stanglin

After a one-day break from heavy rain, water-logged Houston braced for another round of precipitation Saturday from a lingering storm system along the western Gulf of Mexico.

The storm also has prompted Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency because of the severe weather.

Houston, which sits just above sea level, has faced several days of heavy rains on extremely saturated ground.

Police rescued scores of stranded motorists since Thursday night from high water that even forced the shutdown of part of Interstate 10.

The storm knocked out power to nearly 160,000 customers on Friday, while Bush Intercontinental Airport diverted more than 62 flights, the Houston Chronicle reports.

A home along FM 1314 is surrounded by water after thunderstorms, Friday, May 10, 2019, in Porter, Texas.

The Chronicle itself faced storm-related headaches, advising readers that delivery of the Saturday newspaper could be delayed because of the severe weather. "The safety of our newspaper carriers is of the utmost importance to us and we ask for your patience," the newspaper said on its website.

The latest forecast set up another round of likely flash flooding from rain expected throughout the day.

The threat of more rain also extended eastward along the Gulf Coast.

"Portions of the south-central U.S. have been inundated with flooding rain, large hail and continuous lightning this week, and the threat is not yet over," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

In Louisiana, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway on Friday for only the 14th time since it was built in 1927. The spillway, located about 12 miles west of New Orleans, allows floodwaters from the Mississippi River to flow into Lake Pontchartrain and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.

Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser said this has been the wettest period in 124 years, WAFB reports

“This is not business as usual. This is the first time in the 90 year history of that structure that we’ve opened it twice in one year,” he said. "So based on the weather conditions that existed here today and the excessive heavy rain that we experienced, we had no choice but to open the spillway today."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Houston braces for more flooding; Louisiana declares state of emergency