Update 1:30 p.m. The National Weather Service has extended a Flash Flood Emergency for Houston until 4:45 p.m.
The George Bush Intercontinental Airport is at full stop. Roads leading to it are flooded. Airplanes are still departing at Hobby Airport but there are no arrivals allowed. All METRO bus and rail service is suspended.
Update 12:30 p.m. The National Weather Service has extended a Flash Flood Emergency for much of north Houston until 3 p.m. "Heavy rainfall has impacted the area through much of the morning and additional heavy rainfall is forecast over the area." Residents are urged not to travel in the area.
Governor Gregg Abbott declared a state of disaster in several counties because of Tropical Storm Imelda. This includes: Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange and San Jacinto.
And citing the weather the following restaurants are closed today: Antone's Famous Po'Boys, both locations; The Original Ninfa's on Navigation and The Original Ninfa's Uptown Houston; and The Union Kitchen Kingwood.
Houston ISD: Middle College at Felix Fraga will release students at 3:30 p.m. instead of the normal 5 p.m. time. Transporation will be made available for students.
Former Topical Storm Imelda apparently decided southeast Texas hadn't had enough rain just yet. A potent band of heavy rainfall producing, in some cases, three inches of rain per hour is sagging across northeast Harris County and points south and east toward Beaumont. This large band of rain should be the final bout with what has become a significant flood event thanks to Imelda.
Overnight, areas east of Houston from Winnie and Beaumont to Orange were absolutely inundated with huge amounts of water. Certain spots received as much as 15 inches of rain in only about eight hours and that rainfall continues. Numerous water rescues have been reported early Thursday morning. A significant portion of Interstate 10 near Beaumont is closed due to high water.
At the moment, that rainfall has triggered severe thunderstorm warning advisories across northeastern Harris County around the Kingwood area and heavy rain is falling across a wide area from Montgomery County southeast through those areas that were crushed last night.
This rainfall is forecast to slowly move south and east across northern Harris County. Central Houston is likely to see some heavy rain around lunchtime and into the early afternoon hours. Already, areas just to the east and south of downtown are getting heavy rain and that should continue through into the afternoon.
How much of this will reach central Houston is unclear but certainly most of should expect 3 to 6 inches with some spots, particularly east of Interstate 45, significantly higher. The good news is that most of this will move out of the area by this evening as Imelda mercifully moves off to the north.
After that, it appears we should have a mostly dry weekend with a few showers later in the day with afternoon heating and a saturated ground. Until then, stay off the roads and stay dry.
Update 2:10 p.m. Other closures:
Ramen Tatsu-Ya (Montrose) will close at 5 pm today.
All Liberty Kitchen locations (River Oaks, Houston Heights, Memorial City) have closed for the day.
Tonight's performance of A Chorus Line at the Hobby Center has been canceled by Theatre Under the Stars because of the weather. Tickets may be exchanged for one of the remaining performances.
Houston Ballet has canceled tonight's performance of its mixed-rep opener for the season.
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