The Latest: Storms halt all flights into Houston airport

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on severe weather in the Plains and flooding in Texas following heavy rains (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Heavy thunderstorms that caused flooding in Central and Southeast Texas halted all flights coming into and leaving Houston’s largest airport for nearly two hours.

Houston Airport System spokesman Bill Begley says the Federal Aviation Administration ordered a ground stop on Friday for all flights into and out of Bush Intercontinental Airport. The ground stop lasted from 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time.

That resulted in 53 diverted flights and 42 cancellations. Begley says he didn’t immediately know how many flights were delayed.

Begley also says flight’s weren’t coming in or leaving Hobby Airport due to stormy weather passing through the city Friday evening. But he wasn’t sure whether the FAA ordered the ground stop.


7:05 p.m.

Officials in Bryan say the tornado that struck their Central Texas city damaged 138 homes, including four that were destroyed and 44 that sustained major damage.

The National Weather Service said Friday that an EF-1 tornado struck Bryan, located about 100 miles northwest of Houston, a day earlier.

Bryan officials say the tornado damaged homes in three neighborhoods in the city. No injuries were reported. Most of the homes suffered minor damage.

Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski says he has issued a local disaster declaration and is asking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for assistance.

Bryan Police say there have been no law enforcement issues in the neighborhoods that were damaged but officers will continue to patrol and control access to the affected areas.


4:35 p.m.

Texas has elevated the alert level of its state operations center as severe storms and possible flooding could affect parts of the state through the Memorial Day weekend.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the elevated status for the center in the wake of torrential rain that damaged homes and prompted evacuations in Central and Southeast Texas.

Representatives from various state agencies have reported to the center in Austin to coordinate Texas’ response to the bad weather.

One of the areas affected by the rainfall — Bastrop County— has issued a disaster declaration after about 100 homes were damaged.

Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape says this is the fifth disaster declaration he’s issued since the Memorial Day weekend in 2015. Four were for flooding and one was for fire damage.


1 p.m.

Officials say at least one person has died in Texas and three are missing after heavy rains brought flooding.

Washington County Judge John Brieden said one person has drowned and another person is missing after their vehicle was swept away. An Austin-area official has said two people were missing from a vehicle there.

Brieden said they had not yet determined if a second person who died in Washington County, located between Austin and Houston, had died from drowning or a heart attack.

Brieden says that mobile homes washed away in the flooding and multiple homes had water inside. He says there have been more than 50 water rescues from houses and vehicles since the rains started Thursday morning .

He says about 40 children spent the night at a Brenham elementary school after buses were unable to get them home.


12:01 p.m.

Officials in some Texas counties were assessing damage from floods caused by heavy rains as they kept their eyes on a forecast of more rain.

Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said Friday that about 100 homes in the county near Austin were damaged and there could be more. He says more than 100 county roads are barricaded and some roads had washed out.

He says about 50 homes were evacuated overnight.

Hays County Emergency Management Coordinator Kharley Smith said about 20 people were evacuated early Friday morning from a senior living center in the town of Buda, located about 40 miles southwest of Austin, but were later allowed to return. She says water got into a couple of the apartments in the center.

She says there were also around 11 swift water rescues in the area.


9 a.m.

Officials say almost a foot and a half of rain has fallen on the city of Brenham in southeast Texas.

Meteorologist Wendy Long says Brenham received 16.62 inches of rain on Thursday, breaking the city’s record for the most rain in a day

Meteorologist Patrick Blood says the rains washed out some roadways in the city located about 90 miles east of Austin.

Meteorologist Steve Smith says up to 10 inches of rain fell on counties in the Austin area, leading to several stranded vehicles and swift water rescues.

Officials say the rains let up in those areas by Friday morning but that more is expected in the late afternoon.


7:50 a.m.

Five people were rescued from the roof of a home by helicopter and two more are missing after torrential rain caused floods that closed roads and prompted evacuations in the Austin area.

Travis County Emergency Services spokeswoman Lisa Block said Friday that up to 9 inches of rain fell in parts of the county overnight.

Block says residents in one neighborhood were asked to evacuate their homes, while those in another neighborhood were advised to shelter in place.

She says waters have receded in the area where the two people are missing from their vehicle and that officials are hopeful they are safe.

Heavy rains also hit areas north and northwest of Houston, causing some school closures.

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