Imelda crawls inland as coastal Texas braces for feet of rain, flooding

Alex Sosnowski

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, dangers are just beginning for the Houston area and other places in eastern Texas that can receive up to 2 feet of rain.

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.

The development of Imelda occurred just a few hours after Tropical Depression Ten formed over the central Atlantic.

Torrential rainfall will be unleashed as Imelda continues to move inland. Isolated tornadoes and waterspouts may be spawned.

Enough rain is forecast to fall to cause significant street, highway and low-lying area flooding from southern Louisiana to the middle of the Texas coast. This includes the cities of Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Beaumont, Houston, Galveston, Matagorda, Victoria and Corpus Christi, Texas, this week.

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 24 inches into Friday.

Since the start of the week, as of 7 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, San Bernard National Wildlife Reserve, near the coast, southwest of Galveston, Texas, has received 19.64 inches of rain from the storm. Rain is likely to persist in this area into the midday hours.

Meanwhile, the community of Enchanted Woods, Texas, along Clear Creek, received 7.36 inches of rain during the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

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 are may continue to be just east and south of Houston on Wednesday.

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.

Meanwhile, AccuWeather meteorologists are tracking the latest with Humberto in the Atlantic as the strengthening hurricane will come dangerously close to Bermuda. Rough surf will persist along the East Coast much of this week as the storm steers away from the U.S.