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Oregon sees push for strictest gun storage law in US
By ANDREW SELSKY | Wed, September 18, 2019 10:00 EDT
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Carol Manstrom says she lost her 18-year-old son when he grabbed his father’s unsecured pistol and shot himself. Paul Kemp lost his brother-in-law when a man opened fire with a stolen AR-15 assault-style rifle at a shopping mall.
On Wednesday, Manstrom and Kemp helped deliver 2,000 signatures to Oregon’s elections office as part of an effort to get a measure on the 2020 ballot that would create the stiffest law in America requiring the safe storage of firearms.
The initiative would require guns to be secured with a trigger or cable lock, or in a locked container. It also mandates that a lost or stolen firearm be reported within 24 hours and makes violators of the measure liable for any injury from an unsecured weapon, except in matters of self-defense or defense of another person.
Massachusetts is the only state in the country that requires all people to keep their firearms safely stored when not under their immediate control, said Allison Anderman, managing attorney at Giffords, a gun-control advocacy group. The Oregon initiative goes further because it makes gun owners strictly liable to lawsuits if their unsecured weapons cause injuries or damage.
“I do believe this would be the first law of its kind in the country to impose strict liability on a person who violates the law,” Anderman said. “If your gun is used to harm someone else because you violated the state storage law, then you are strictly liable for those damages.”
Furthermore, each violation of the proposed law carries fines up to $2,000.
Manstrom, with a cardboard box containing the 2,000 signatures next to her, described how she lost her son Will in 2017, just a month after he and his girlfriend split up. Teens sometimes make impulsive decisions, Manstrom said.
“In the case of my son Will, it was a decision that we’ll never be able to take back,” Manstrom said at a news conference in the state capitol. “If a loaded gun was not easily accessible to him that night, I believe he would be with us today.”
Kemp’s brother-in-law was killed by a gunman who had stolen an AR-15 from an acquaintance. The gunman also killed a woman and seriously wounded a third person at the Clackamas Town Center near Portland before killing himself.
“The legal gun owner didn’t tell police his guns were missing until (the mall attack) was national news,” Kemp said.
Three state lawmakers, also appearing at the news conference, vowed to push a bill in next year’s legislative session that would enact the same storage requirements. If it passes, it would render any ballot initiative moot. But if the bill fails, the measure would have a second chance by going directly to voters in November.
Anderman said putting anything between a person’s impulse to take their own life and a gun could give the person a moment to reconsider.
Suicides account for 85% of gun deaths in Oregon, said one of the lawmakers, Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, a Portland Democrat. The national rate is around 66%, Anderman said.
Safe storage could also reduce the number of school shootings because most minors who commit those attacks obtain the gun from their home or the home of a family member or friend, Anderman said.
A safe-storage law “can really address a whole host of gun related harm,” she said.
A firearms storage bill was packaged with other gun-control measures during Oregon’s 2019 legislative session that ended in June.
There were some vocal opponents.
“I want to be able to defend myself and family without asking the perpetrator to stop until I unlock my gun,” Jeffrey Slaughter, of Woodburn, told lawmakers. Others spoke of infringement on gun rights.
The gun-control effort was scrapped by Democrats in order to lure back Republican senators who had staged a walkout over a school funding tax.
After the news conference Wednesday, supporters delivered the signatures to the elections office. To win a place on the 2020 ballot, 112,020 valid signatures of voters must be turned in by July 2.
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This version corrects that strict liability refers to gun owners being liable to lawsuits, apart from any fines imposed through the justice system.
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Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

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Hugo at 30: Remembering the first US modern hurricane
By JEFFREY COLLINS 07:59 EDT
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — From evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from the coast to live TV coverage in the shrieking wind and rain, 1989’s Hurricane Hugo might have been the first U.S. storm of the modern age.
When it slammed into South Carolina just minutes before midnight on Sept. 21, 1989, Hugo’s 135 mph (217 kph) winds made it the strongest storm to hit the U.S. in 20 years and its $9.5 billion of damage made it the costliest storm in the nation’s history.
The 20-foot (6.1-meter) wall of water that surged inland just north of where the eye made landfall in Charleston is still an Atlantic Coast record.
Hugo has been surpassed over the past 30 years both in strength and damage by a other hurricanes — from Andrew to Katrina to Harvey and Michael.
But the Category 4 hurricane has few peers, especially in South Carolina where it gouged a wide path of damage from expensive beachfront homes on the Isle of Palms to the thousands of trees toppled in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I’ll never forget the look on the governor’s face when he got off the phone with the Hurricane Center and they said it wasn’t changing course and was just getting stronger,” said Warren Tompkins, chief of staff for Gov. Carroll Campbell, who died in 2005.
“His face was as white as a sheet. He said ‘It might go to Cat 5 and it’s going to hit the whole coast and we are going to be wiped out. We probably ought to pray,'” Tompkins said.
Hugo had a history before South Carolina. The storm crippled and nearly crashed a Hurricane Hunter plane as a Category 5 east of the Caribbean. It destroyed 85% of the buildings on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and killed 12 people and did $1 billion in damage to Puerto Rico.
Those images were beamed back to South Carolina, where the fear of a growing storm in the warm Gulf Stream waters off the coast led Gov. Campbell to an unprecedented decision. Instead of allowing local beach governments do their own evacuations, he issued a statewide evacuation order.
People had 24 hours or less to evacuate because Hugo was closing in fast. Nearly 250,000 people left. Campbell briefly reversed all lanes of Interstate 26 out of Charleston when it appeared people would be caught on the highway in the storm.
Thirteen people in South Carolina died in the storm. But even though the ocean washed completely over Isle of Palms — almost over the second story of some buildings — none of the barrier island’s 3,700 residents were killed. They had nearly all left.
“We lost more people after the storm than during the storm,” former State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said. “Fires, electrocutions, trying to cut down trees.”
Twenty-two people died cleaning up after Hugo in South Carolina.
Hugo also ushered in modern storm coverage. The Weather Channel covered it all night long, but from its Atlanta studio, where a young Jim Cantore worked a late afternoon shift . CNN had reporters doing live shots from Charleston and Wilmington. North Carolina. The CBS news magazine “48 Hours” did a live show the night of landfall.
Dozens of national reporters from TV stations and newspapers were hustled out of Charleston County’s emergency center to a nearby hotel when the roof came off the building.
All that national attention led to a problem in modern hurricane coverage. So much was reported on Charleston that the devastation farther up the coast and inland got much less attention. Hurricane force winds were felt near Columbia. In Charlotte, North Carolina, schools were closed for up to two weeks.
“It was ugly everywhere,” Stewart said. “We had fistfights at roadblocks. People wanted to go home. We couldn’t get supplies everywhere they were needed. Ice was like gold.”
The extent of the destruction led Campbell to do something else modern governors have followed after hurricanes. He begged for federal assistance and to get the military involved in cleaning up and restoring power.
“Tensions subside as the lights go on. You could see it. Things would calm down a little when people had power,” Tompkins said.
South Carolina is accustomed to what to do when hurricanes approach now. The state’s four coastal counties have nearly 1 million people — almost 75% more than in 1989 — but seamlessly evacuated four times in the past four years without a direct hit from a storm with half of Hugo’s power.
There is a modern Emergency Management Center instead of the governor’s conference room or the basement of an old state office building with a robust communication system. With 1989’s radios, state troopers couldn’t talk to state agents who couldn’t talk to local police.
“The whole response and preparation to all these major storms have come so much more efficient and professional,” Tompkins said. “We were just doing our best as we went along.”
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Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP .

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Houston area sees relief, rescues after Imelda leaves 4 dead
By JUAN A. LOZANO | Sat, September 21, 2019 12:09 EDT
HOUSTON (AP) — Emergency workers used boats Friday to rescue about 60 residents of a Houston-area community still trapped in their homes by floodwaters following one of the wettest tropical cyclones in U.S. history.
At least four deaths have been linked to the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda, which deluged parts of Texas and Louisiana and drew comparisons to Hurricane Harvey two years ago. Officials took advantage of receding floodwaters to begin assessing how many homes and cars were flooded.
Almost 16 feet of standing water was reported in Huffman, northeast of Houston, when a nearby bayou overflowed. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office deployed its marine unit to evacuate the around 60 residents. Officials have warned residents they might not see high waters recede in their neighborhoods until the weekend.
Tuesday Martin, one of the residents in Huffman who was rescued, couldn’t help but think of Harvey when Imelda’s floodwaters rushed into her home.
“Harvey affected us. We lost the whole first floor,” Martin said. “So, it’s like two years later, we do not want to go through this again.”
East of Houston in Jefferson County, which got hit by more than 40 inches of rain, officials also began taking stock of their damage. They also announced the death of Malcolm Foster, a 47-year-old Beaumont resident whose body was found inside his vehicle.
The heaviest rainfall had ended by Thursday night in Southeast Texas, but forecasters warned that parts of northeast Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana could see flash flooding as Imelda’s remnants shifted to the north.
Officials in Harris County, which includes Houston, said there had been a combination of at least 1,700 high-water rescues following Thursday’s torrential rainfall.
“The water is getting lower and it’s time for assessment and to move into recovery,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county’s top administrator.
Most of the Houston-area roads that became water-logged after heavy rainfall Thursday and resulted in more than 1,650 vehicles being abandoned and later towed were mostly dry on Friday.
But parts of one of the major thoroughfares that passes through Southeast Texas — Interstate 10 — remained closed Friday due to flood waters from torrential rain in the Beaumont area. Another freeway section, closer to Houston, was also shut down as officials assessed damage to its bridges over the San Jacinto River after they were hit by two barges that broke free of their moorings.
Nearly 123,000 vehicles normally cross the bridges each day, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
More than 900 flights were canceled or delayed in Houston on Thursday. Airports in the city resumed operating normally on Friday.
Officials say two of the deaths from Imelda happened in the Houston area: an unidentified man in his 40s or 50s who drowned Thursday while driving a van through 8-foot-deep floodwaters, and a man whose body was found in a ditch Friday and is believed to have drowned.
In Jefferson County, besides Foster’s death, officials say a 19-year-old man drowned and was electrocuted Thursday while trying to move his horse to safety.
The National Weather Service said preliminary estimates suggested Jefferson County was hit with more than 40 inches (102 centimeters) of rain in a span of just 72 hours, which would make it the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone to hit the continental U.S.
“The issue is that you can’t get 40 inches of rain in a 72-hour period and be fully prepared for that,” Jefferson County spokeswoman Allison Getz told The Associated Press on Friday. “At this point we haven’t been able to fully assess what’s happened.”
Getz said dozens of people have traveled to the county with boats in tow from Louisiana and other parts of Texas to assist with rescue efforts, an outpouring of support reminiscent of volunteer efforts during Harvey.
In nearby Chambers County, preliminary estimates indicate about 800 homes and businesses sustained some level of damage from floodwaters, county spokesman Ryan Holzaepfel said. Emergency personnel rescued about 400 people during the deluge, mostly from homes, he said.
Emergency crews on Thursday evacuated 87 residents from a nursing home in Porter, northeast of Houston, as floodwaters began to seep into the home, according to Meghan Ballard, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management.
In Winnie, a town of about 3,200 people 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Houston, a hospital was evacuated.
For many residents in Houston, Imelda’s punishing rainfall and flooding evoked the memory of Harvey — which dumped more than 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain on the nation’s fourth-largest city in 2017. Imelda is the first named storm since then to impact the Houston area.
Following Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a report warning that punishing storms would become more frequent because of a changing climate. Scientists say climate change is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme weather such as storms, droughts, floods and fires, but without extensive study they cannot directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.
Abbott has said it’s “impossible” for him to say whether he believes manmade global warming is causing the kind of disasters the state is telling residents to get used to.
Hidalgo attributed this week’s flooding in part to “a lack of acknowledgement on climate change.”
The flooding from Imelda came as Hurricane Humberto blew off rooftops and toppled trees in the British Atlantic island of Bermuda, and Hurricane Jerry was expected to move to the northern Leeward Islands on Friday and north of Puerto Rico on Saturday. In Mexico, people in Los Cabos were preparing for Hurricane Lorena’s arrival.
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Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70
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Associated Press writers David Warren, Diana Heidgerd, Terry Wallace and Jamie Stengle in Dallas; video journalist John Mone in Houston; Clarice Silber and Paul J. Weber in Austin; and Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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City gardens, public produce stands ease ‘food desert’ woes
By ANDREA SMITH and AMR ALFIKY 11:02 EDT
ATLANTA (AP) — On his way home, Darnell Eleby paused before boarding the commuter train in Atlanta’s Five Points station and maneuvered his wheelchair to a stop not seen on many mass transit platforms: a fresh food stand stocked with colorful fruits and vegetables. Aided by a volunteer, he filled a basket with bananas, apples, corn and squash and paid with a health program voucher.
“It helps you out when you can’t get to the store,” Eleby said.
In Chicago, nonprofit groups have opened health clinics where staff provide patients with nutrition education and free coupons to area farmers markets replete with healthy foods. Both cities also have encouraged burgeoning efforts to plant urban gardens.
Large cities across the country are using this multipronged approach to bring healthy diets to “food deserts,” mostly low-income neighborhoods located miles away from the nearest supermarket. They hope not only to reduce rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, but to encourage community activism and empowerment.
“We’re doing this out of … responsibility toward our community,” Safia Rashid said of the garden she and her husband, Kamau Rashid, have tended on Chicago’s South Side for the past 14 years.
The 44-year-old mother said the couple began gardening when their oldest son was 3 years old, to fight “‘food apartheid’ … folks deliberately disinvesting in this community, removing healthy food away from us,” Safia Rashid said.
The Rashids’ garden grows at the South Chicago Farm, a 14-acre (5.6-hectare) site developed in 2015. It’s one of eight such farms in Chicago operated by the nonprofit Urban Growers Collective.
In Atlanta, many of the tomatoes, peaches and peppers found in bins at the Fresh MARTA Markets come from food grown in the city and nearby farms, said Hilary King, of the nonprofit Community Farmers Markets, which partners with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to run the stands. Launched in 2015, the MARTA markets are located at different stations during the week.
“We cannot rely on traditional retail methods,” said Atlanta urban agriculture director Mario Cambardella.
Nonprofits also have teamed up with ridesharing company Lyft to provide up to 300 low-income families with discounted rides to farmers markets and grocery stores in Atlanta. The six-month pilot program, called Access AgLanta, began June 1, inspired by a similar Lyft partnership in Washington, D.C.
“What we have often heard over the years is that transportation is a huge barrier to food access,” said Alysa Moore, program manager for Georgia Fresh For Less, which provides state residents who receive food stamps with financial assistance to shop at farmers markets.
Eleby relies heavily on the transit platform markets. Without them, he said, he’d be forced to rely on a small scattering of stores in his low-income neighborhood in southwest Atlanta where he said he has to smell food or examine it for mold before buying it. The food there, he said, isn’t “like it’s supposed to be.”
As of 2015, roughly 22% of Atlanta’s population was living in a low-income community more than a mile from a food store, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In Chicago, that number is 5%. Comparatively, the number in Seattle is 7.8%; Washington, D.C., 6.4%; Baltimore, 4.3%; and Milwaukee, 3.5%, according to the USDA.
Christopher “Mad Dog” Thomas, 34, who grew up in the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, said he has suffered from “‘food desert eating disorder,’ where all you can afford to eat is candy.”
Thomas and his wife, Kathryn Gatewood, make a weekly trip outside their neighborhood to a store called Pete’s Supermarket, which Kathryn Gatewood describes as “the black or Hispanic Whole Foods.”
“We spend almost 40% of our paychecks combined to ensure a healthier diet for our kids,” she said, adding that it is a better alternative than buying bad food from the “dusty shelves” of corner stores in Englewood.
The Chicago nonprofit Inner-City Muslim Action Network has launched “The Corner Store Campaign” to change that.
Sami Defalla, who runs the Morgan Mini Mart in Englewood, has been an active partner with the campaign for more than two years. Defalla has created a “green zone” in the store where shoppers can purchase inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables.
“I wish I had a bigger platform to offer more … to my customers,” Deffala said.
The Muslim Action Network also operates a health clinic where patients can see a dietitian free of charge and receive coupons for free produce at the nearby farmers market. Every Friday, the group hosts a farmers market where residents can connect with local urban farmers.
As a volunteer in a community garden in Atlanta, Celeste Lomax is finally able to take fresh produce home to her low-income neighborhood, which is located about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away from the nearest supermarket.
“We have a right to eat healthy like everyone else does,” she said.
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Alfiky reported from Chicago.

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The Latest: Man drowns attempting to drive through flood
Thu, September 19, 2019 09:07 EDT
HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda (all times local):
8:05 p.m.
Authorities say floodwaters from rain unleashed by the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda have left a man dead near Houston.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says the driver of a van — a man in his 40s or 50s — approached a flooded intersection at U.S. 59 near Bush Intercontinental Airport during the Thursday afternoon rush hour. Despite floodwaters that were 8 feet deep, the driver paused briefly and then accelerated into the water, submerging the van.
Rescue crews came to the scene, removed the man and began resuscitation efforts en route to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Gonzalez says it’s not yet certain that he was the only occupant of the van.
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6:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service says Imelda is the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone to strike the 48 contiguous United States on record.
Meteorologist Michael Marcotte of the weather service office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, says Imelda is also the fourth-wettest to strike Texas on record. He cited information provided on Thursday by the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Office in College Park, Maryland.
The National Weather Service has allowed flash flood warnings to expire for the Houston area, replacing them with a flash flood watch. That’s after reporting a 9.18-inch official rainfall reading for Thursday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. That is a record daily rainfall for September in Houston and ranks fifth all-time.
The heaviest rain unleashed on Houston by Hurricane Harvey was 16.07 inches on Aug. 27, 2017, the second day it rained on the city.
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5:05 p.m.
Authorities say a 19-year-old Southeast Texas man has drowned in floodwaters caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page reposted a message from the family of Hunter Morrison, saying he was trying to move his horse from floodwaters to safety Thursday when he was electrocuted and drowned 11 miles (18 kilometers) southwest of Beaumont.
The death was reported about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Crystal Holmes says an autopsy won’t be performed to establish the cause of death for several days because of the storm.
Meanwhile, Houston officials are appealing to afternoon commuters to remain in their offices and off city roads until flood waters from torrential rains recede.
Mayor Sylvester Turner made a similar appeal to the parents of school children in flood-affected areas of the city.
City emergency officials say hundreds of vehicles are stalled on Houston freeways and roads blocked by high water. Officials appealed to motorists and residents to call 911 only if their lives were in danger, not if they were inconvenienced.
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2:55 p.m.
Departures have resumed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston to partly lift an hours-long ground stop enacted amid heavy rain and flooding that led to more than 900 flights being canceled or delayed.
Airport spokeswoman Saba Abashawl (SAH’-buh AB’-uh-shawl) said outbound flights resumed by Thursday afternoon but no incoming planes were allowed to land. Officials tweeted that roads approaching the airport, located in the northern part of Houston, remained flooded.
The flight tracking service FlightAware reported nearly 700 flights canceled Thursday at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, with more than 200 other flights delayed.
Thursday’s storms are blamed on remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda.
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2:40 p.m.
Authorities say three people sustained minor injuries when the flat roof of a post office facility in Houston collapsed amid heavy rains.
The Houston Fire Department was responding to the scene Thursday morning. Fire officials said the collapse happened in a mail distribution area.
Fire officials said the building was occupied but “everyone made it out.”
Photos and video from the scene showed that part of the roof was caved in and part of an outside wall had fallen into a parking area, damaging at least one vehicle.
Fire officials did not immediately say what they believe caused the collapse.
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1:50 p.m.
Officials in Houston say there have been more than 1,000 rescues and evacuations because of rising waters caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says the rescues and evacuations caused by the flooding were in the eastern part of the county. A flash flood emergency for the area will remain in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday.
Officials are urging the public to stay off the roads.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says among those rescued were nine children and employees from a daycare center that had taken on water in Aldine, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Houston.
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12:30 p.m.
Gov. Greg Abbott has declared 13 counties disaster areas after heavy rain and flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda swamped parts of Southeast Texas.
Abbott on Thursday announced the disaster declaration for Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange and San Jacinto counties.
The National Weather Service says most of Southeast Texas was under a flash flood watch through Friday morning.
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says emergency personnel completed more than 300 high-water rescues Thursdin the town of Winnie, located 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Houston. Hawthorne had no reports of anyone hurt.
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11:40 a.m.
Part of a busy interstate in Texas is shut down because of flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda, stranding some drivers on the roadway.
Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Sarah Dupre says officials do not know exactly how many people are stranded in their cars on Interstate 10, which is shut down from Beaumont to Winnie. Dupre says the department is currently working with local law enforcement on a plan to get those people off the roadway.
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says the sheriff’s office is focusing on high water rescues in Winnie and neighboring Stowell.
Hawthorne says some residents are up on their roofs because of rising floodwaters.
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11:30 a.m.
Hundreds of flights have been canceled or delayed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston due to heavy rain and flooding in Southeast Texas.
Airport officials reported a full ground stop Thursday morning, meaning no flights landing or departing, with flooding on some roads leading to the airport in far north Houston.
The flight tracking service FlightAware reported nearly 200 flights canceled Thursday at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, with more than 300 other flights delayed.
Airport spokeswoman Saba Abashawl (SAH’-buh AB’-uh-shawl) said some inbound flights were diverted to William P. Hobby Airport, on the south side of Houston.
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10:20 a.m.
Heavy rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda is hitting the north Houston area, prompting forecasters to issue a flash flood emergency warning.
The National Weather Service says thunderstorms could drop 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 centimeters) of rain per hour through midday Thursday in parts of Harris County, where Houston is located. The weather service says flash flooding is expected to follow.
The National Hurricane Center says the center of Imelda was located about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Houston as of 10 a.m. Thursday. The hurricane center says the storm system could cause isolated rainfall totals of up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) this week in parts of southeast Texas.
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9:20 a.m.
Authorities say emergency workers have rescued about 200 people from a small Texas town hit hard by flooding from Tropical Depression Imelda.
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says about 50 additional households were on a waiting list to be rescued Thursday in the town of Winnie, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Houston. He says airboats from the sheriff’s office and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department were helping with the rescues, along with high-water vehicles.
Hawthorne told The Associated Press that the town “looks like a lake.” He says it’s the worst storm-related flooding he’s seen after going through hurricanes including Rita in 2005, Ike in 2008, and Harvey two years ago.
In Beaumont, police said on Twitter that they’ve had requests for more than 250 water rescues and 270 evacuations.
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7 a.m.
The storm system associated with Tropical Depression Imelda is bringing severe weather to parts of Texas already hit by dangerous flooding.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning Thursday morning for Chambers County, including the town of Winnie, where a flash flood emergency warning is also in place.
Forecasters said a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was moving through the area at 15 mph (24 kph).
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6:22 a.m.
A flash flood emergency warning is in effect for areas east of Houston as Tropical Depression Imelda dumps rainfall on parts of Texas.
Authorities say high-water rescues are underway in some areas because of rising water.
In the town of Winnie, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Houston, a hospital was evacuated and water is inundating several homes and businesses. The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office says Winnie is “being devastated by rising water” and that water rescues are ongoing.
Flooding is also reported in Beaumont, where authorities say all service roads are impassable. Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick tells the Beaumont Enterprise that homes that did not flood during Hurricane Harvey are now flooding.
The National Weather Service says “life-threatening amounts of rainfall” have fallen and that more is expected in the area Thursday.
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12:01 a.m.
Officials in Houston and surrounding communities say so far there have been no severe consequences as Tropical Depression Imelda deluged parts of Southeast Texas with rain.
The storm’s remnants spawned several weak tornadoes in the Baytown area, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Houston, causing minor damage to some homes and vehicles.
Forecasters say the Houston area could still face some heavy rainfall on Thursday.
Coastal counties, including Brazoria, Matagorda and Galveston, got the most rainfall since Imelda formed on Tuesday. Some parts of the Houston area had received nearly 8 inches (203 millimeters) of rain, while the city of Galveston had received nearly 9 inches (229 millimeters).
Sargent, a town of about 2,700 residents in Matagorda County, had received nearly 20 inches (508 millimeters) of rain since Tuesday.

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