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Heavy Rains Ease Around Houston But Flooding Remains after Hundreds of Rescues and Evacuations

HOUSTON (AP) — Floodwaters closed some Texas schools on Monday after days of heavy rains pummeled the Houston area and led to hundreds of rescues including people who were stranded on rooftops.

A 5-year-old boy died after riding in a car that was swept away in fast waters, authorities said.

Although forecasters expected storms to begin tapering off in southeastern Texas, high waters continued to close some roads and left residents facing lengthy cleanups in neighborhoods where rising river levels led to weekend evacuation orders.

Houston is one of the most flood-prone metro areas in the country. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 dumped historic rainfall that flooded thousands of homes and resulted in more than 60,000 rescues.

In one soggy area of Houston, school officials in Channelview canceled classes and said a survey of their employees found many of them had experienced circumstances that would prevent them from coming to work.

“These folks have suffered much, people,” Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace said Sunday during a Facebook livestream as he rode a boat through a rural flooded neighborhood. Partially submerged cars and street signs peeked above the water around him.

Areas near Lake Livingston, located northeast of Houston, received upwards of 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain over the past week, National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Fowler said.

In Johnson County, south of Fort Worth, a 5-year-old boy died when he was swept away after the vehicle he was riding in became stuck in swift-moving water near the community of Lillian just before 2 a.m. Sunday, an official said.

Overflow from the swollen Trinity River fills James Smart’s backyard as wades the floodwaters to make preparations to his chicken coup to ensure the safety of his livestock, Sunday, May 5, 2024, near Liberty, Texas. (Kirk Sides/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The child and two adults were trying to reach dry ground when they were swept away. The adults were rescued around 5 a.m. and taken to a hospital, while the child was found dead around 7:20 a.m. in the water, Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jamie Moore wrote in a social media post.

Storms brought 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain in a span of six to eight hours in some areas from central Texas to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Stalley said.

Since last week, storms have forced numerous high-water rescues in the Houston area, including some from the rooftops of flooded homes.

Greg Moss, 68, stayed put in his recreational vehicle on Sunday after leaving his home in the community of Channelview in eastern Harris County near the San Jacinto River. A day earlier, he had packed up many of his belongings and left before the road to his home flooded.

Dorothy and Earl Blevins’ temporary home sits off its foundation after it was moved by flooded water and into the new home they are building on property once owned by Dorothy’s mother on Sunday, May 5, 2024, in Spendora, Texas. “We’ve never flooded like this,” said Dorothy. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

“I would be stuck for four days,” Moss said. “So now at least I can go get something to eat.”

Moss moved his belongings and vehicle to a neighbor’s home, where he planned to stay until the waters recede. The floodwaters had already gone down by a couple of feet and he wasn’t worried his home would flood because it’s located on higher ground, Moss said Sunday.

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By JAMIE STENGLE and LEKAN OYEKANMI Associated Press

Stengle reported from Dallas and Associated Press reporter Juan A. Lozano contributed to this report.

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