Houston battles ‘unprecedented’ floods

BBC:-The US city of Houston is in the grip of the biggest storm in the history of the state of Texas, officials say.

A record 30in of rain (75cm) has fallen on the city in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, turning roads into rivers.

The area is expected to have received a year’s rainfall within a week. Five people are reported dead. Helicopters have plucked victims from rooftops.

With rescue services overstretched as the rain continues, many people are having to fend for themselves.

Harvey made landfall as a category-four hurricane late on Friday. It was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

Up to 2,000 people have been rescued in and around Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US, where about 6.6m people live in the metropolitan area.

An inundated care home in Dickinson, about 30 miles (50 km) south east of the city, has now been evacuated by helicopter after an image of several elderly women sitting in a lounge in waist-deep water went viral on social media.

The US National Weather Service (NWS) says conditions are “unprecedented”. A “flash flood emergency” is in force across the Houston area, with travel near impossible.

Thousands of homes are without electricity. Many schools are closed – as are the two main airports, with runways completely flooded.

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