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The Latest: Fatality count reaches 4 in Houston flooding

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HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on heavy rains and flooding in the Houston area (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

A county judge says four people have died in flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the Houston area.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says two people died in a vehicle that ignored barricades at a freeway underpass. He says traffic cameras recorded the vehicle going around the blockade and head into the water. The vehicle didn't make it through.

Two deaths reported earlier Monday included one man found inside a truck that that drove into high water on a freeway service road.

Harris County Precinct Sgt. Herbert Martinez says crews monitoring the high water on the road saw the man in the 18-wheeler truck drive directly into the water. He says it's possible the driver may have suffered some kind of medical emergency.

Another man, identified only as a contractor working for the city's airport system, also was found dead in a submerged vehicle not far from Houston Intercontinental Airport.


5 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says some taxpayers affected by severe rain and flooding will qualify for an extension to file their federal tax returns that were due at midnight.

Abbott said Monday that his office had been in contact with the IRS about pushing the tax filing deadline for those in areas inundated by heavy downpours. More than a foot of rain dumped on parts of Houston and knocked out power to thousands of residents.

Abbott says more than half of the state remains under flood warnings. He says first responders have made more than 1,000 water rescues across Texas.

Abbott has declared a state disaster declaration for nine counties and said more will likely be added to the list.


2:40 p.m.

Authorities say the body of a man has been found inside a truck that drove into high water on a Houston freeway service road.

The victim could be the second fatality linked to flooding from severe rains that began in Southeast Texas late Sunday night.

Harris County Precinct 5 Sgt. Herbert Martinez says crews monitoring the high water on the road saw the man in the 18-wheeler truck drive directly into the water. He says it's possible the driver may have suffered some kind of medical emergency.

Officials also were trying to determine if the storm was responsible for the death of a contractor working for the city's airport system whose body was found in a submerged vehicle.


2:15 p.m.

Harris County sheriff's deputies have saved several horses from drowning as a Houston-area stable was inundated by floodwaters.

Sheriff's spokesman Ryan Sullivan says deputies used boats Monday to reach the horses, including some tethered animals that had to be cut free.

Sullivan says the horses from Cypress Trails were guided to land, for loading into livestock trailers and transport away from the flood scene. He had no immediate information on the fate of other horses seen struggling in water up to their necks in the area near Cypress Creek.

A message left with the owner of the stable, Cypress Trails, wasn't immediately returned Monday.

The stables are just north of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in an area where some nearby roads flooded Monday after heavy rain.


1 p.m.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says officials are trying to determine if the body of a person found in a vehicle submerged in water is a storm-related death.

Turner says the person is believed to be a contractor working for the city's airport system but authorities don't have enough information to confirm the cause of death.

The fatality would be the first related to flooding that's inundated hundreds of homes and roads in and around Houston. Some areas have received more than a foot of rain since Sunday night.

The mayor said at a midday briefing that the heavy rainfall has moved to the south and that the city is anticipating only about another half-inch the rest of the day.


12:35 p.m.

Emergency responders have tried to reach several horses trapped in high water near a Houston-area stable where flooding nearly reached the roofs of some buildings.

People driving by on a road near the flooded area stopped to yell encouragement to animals struggling to keep their heads above water Monday.

The horses were seen trying to get over what appeared to be a flood-inundated fence in the area near Cypress Creek.

Harris County officials were trying to reach the Texas Animal Health Commission to try to get a rescue team to the stables just north of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. A number of roads near the airport were flooded Monday.

The fate of the horses wasn't immediately known.


11:30 a.m.

More than 1 million students in the Houston area had a weather-related day off Monday because of storms that dumped as much as 16 inches of rain.

More than 40 districts and universities canceled school as heavy rain and flooding inundated parts of Harris County and threatened nearby areas.

The closures included the Houston Independent School District, the largest in Texas with about 215,000 students, plus Texas Southern University and the Houston Community College System.

The more than 40,000-student University of Houston cited street flooding in calling off classes. Rice University also canceled school Monday.


10:10 a.m.

More than 110,000 Houston area homes and business have lost electricity during storms that flooded roads and grounded hundreds of flights.

CenterPoint Energy crews worked Monday to restore the power lost when up to 16 inches of rain fell in the area.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston reported an increase in the number of flights canceled to 410 as the storms flooded roads near the airport. William P. Hobby Airport has canceled more than 135 flights.

Gov. Greg Abbott is planning to provide an update on the state's response to the severe weather in an afternoon news conference.


9:20 a.m.

More than 470 flights have been canceled in Houston after storms dumped about 16 inches of rain on the area.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport officials have reported at least 335 cancellations Monday. More than 135 flights have been canceled at William P. Hobby Airport.

A Houston Airport System statement says some roads are flooded near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, in the north of the state's largest city.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the Houston area through Tuesday morning.


8:25 a.m.

A TV reporter has helped to rescue a man who drove his car into a flooded underpass in Houston.

In the incident captured on video Monday ( ), KTRK reporter Steve Campion yells, "Dude, you've got to get out of the car!"

The man opens the passenger door and crawls out into the water as the reporter yells: "Leave the car! Swim!"

The driver swims toward Campion, who wades out into the waist-deep water and extends his hand.

As the car slowly sinks under water, the driver tells Campion that he's OK and that he didn't think the water was so deep.


8 a.m.

Storms have dumped more than a foot of rain in the Houston area, flooding dozens of neighborhoods and forcing the closure of city offices and the suspension of public transit.

The National Weather Service says the area received up to 16 inches of rain in the 24 hours through Monday morning.

Mayor Sylvester Turner says city offices will be closed Monday and is encouraging people to stay home and avoid high water areas. Classes have been canceled for the Houston Independent School District's 215,000 students.

Meteorologist Tom Bradshaw says about 70 Houston subdivisions are flooded, as well as parts of Interstate 10.

Flash flood watches have been issued through Tuesday morning for Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Tyler-Longview and as far east as Texarkana.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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