19 Apr 2016

'Historic' floods hit Houston

11:59 am on 19 April 2016

The Texas city of Houston has been hit by huge floods, with local media saying at least three people have died.

Meteorologists said some 44.7cm of rain fell on Houston on Monday alone, levels national officials said were "historic".

Rivers burst their banks in downtown Houston and 1200 people were rescued from rising floodwaters.

The city and its surrounding county have been declared disaster areas, a local judge said.

Close to 70,000 people were left without power in Houston, which, with more than 2 million residents, is the fourth-largest in the United States.

At least 1000 homes have flooded, with the number likely to rise. City officials have turned a large shopping centre into an evacuation centre.

The Channel 13 network and the Houston Chronicle said three people are confirmed to have died.

As well as telling people not to drive in the fast-flowing waters, city officials warned against allowing children to play in waters that are likely to contain snakes and ants.

One Houston flood official said waters recorded in one area were 12 metres higher than the previous record.

The city, on the Gulf of Mexico, is prone to heavy rains, and has seen a number of major floods in the last year alone.

This flood is the largest to strike the city since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, which led to 23 deaths, in Houston