UPDATED: 10:05 p.m. EDT — Six months after Houston was struck with heavy flooding, the largest city in Texas was once again underwater Monday as a slow-moving weekend storm front dumped a deluge in the region. More than 40,000 homes and businesses were still without power Monday evening. At least five people have been pulled dead from the waters.
As of 5 p.m., ~43K customers are without power in the Houston area, down from a peak of 123K this morning. https://t.co/M6ballYHSB
— CenterPoint Energy (@energyinsights) April 18, 2016
Houston and eight surrounding counties have been declared in states of emergency by city officials while Bush Intercontinental Airport was struggling with nearly 2,000 flight cancellations or delays.
Harris County's chief administrator, Judge Ed Emmett, said at a press conference Monday that five people have been found dead so far, including two people who attempted to steer around a barrier and drowned in a rapidly rising flooded underpass.
UPDATED: 3:14 p.m. EDT — For those who cannot submit their tax return by today's deadline because of the severe weather and flooding, they can get an automatic six-month extension, KHOU reported. The fastest and easiest way to extend your deadline is to use Free File. Anyone can use this to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension on Form 4868 until Oct. 17.
As heavy, widespread rains flooded low-lying areas across the Houston region Monday, city officials were forced to suspend bus and rail service, close schools and government buildings, and urge residents to stay home. “This is a life-threatening emergency,” the city government said on an emergency website. “Houston residents should avoid travel at all costs today.”
No injuries or deaths were immediately reported, but at least 150 water rescues have been completed, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett told CNN. More than 100,000 homes and businesses had lost electricity as of Monday morning, according to CenterPoint Energy.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner closed all city buildings and canceled his State of the City address, which had been scheduled for Monday, NBC News reported. “This is a dangerous situation, and I do not want our employees trying to get to work,” Turner said. “Do not go out until conditions improve.”
Many schools in the Houston area were closed Monday, and a full list of school closings can be found on KTRK-TV, a local ABC affiliate.
— City of Houston (@houstontxdotgov) April 18, 2016
Areas beyond Houston have been affected as well. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Houston until 1 p.m. CDT and warnings for about two dozen other Texas counties, including the Austin metropolitan area. Houston has been especially hard-hit, with 10 to 20 inches of rain, according to the Harris County Flood Control District.
The high levels of rain are causing the city’s bayous and waterways to overflow onto highways and residential streets. The flooding caused problems at several of Houston’s airports. The Bush Intercontinental Airport issued a ground stop at about 7:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, leaving more than 400 flights canceled, NBC News reported, and Houston’s Hobby Airport canceled more than 140 flights, the airport’s Twitter account said midmorning.
Rains are expected to continue through Tuesday before the pattern moves toward the Northeast. The severe weather is due to a system of low pressure that has paused over the Western portion of the United States, bringing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into Texas, according to CNN.
As the flooding continues, many in Houston and the surrounding areas have taken to social media to share photos and videos of the destruction. The city and official agencies are still urging residents to stay off the roads and to contact 911 if they are in an emergency situation.
— Salil Jawadekar (@SalilJawadekar) April 18, 2016
— Jamie Picou Faulkner (@anjfaulkner) April 18, 2016
— Stacy (@LittlestBarista) April 18, 2016
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— micaela (@MicaelaTucker) April 18, 2016
— HOB Houston (@HOBHouston) April 18, 2016
— Tamara Sharp (@ta_sharp) April 18, 2016
— JOSÉ DIAZ (@josepdiazv) April 18, 2016