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HOUSTON (AP)—There were six tropical storms in the Atlantic and Pacific all rotating at one time this week—a record matching September 1992 when it was first set.
“While Humberto and Kiko were spinning in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, four new tropical cyclones formed Tuesday: Imelda and Jerry in the Atlantic Basin, and Mario and Lorena in the Eastern Pacific Basin,” The Weather Channel reported.
Imelda, which brought heavy rainfall to southeast Texas, was one of the wettest tropical cyclones in U.S. history and led to the deaths of three men and displaced hundreds of people from their homes.
The aftermath from Tropical Storm Imelda, which drew comparisons to Hurricane Harvey two years ago, was blamed for major travel headaches as motorists slogged through water-swollen streets and air travelers faced flight delays and cancellations.
Nine barges broke free of their moorings, and Interstate 10 over the San Jacinto River was closed in both directions when two of the barges struck the bridges early Friday. Nearly 123,000 vehicles normally cross the bridges each day, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
The heaviest rainfall had ended by Thursday night in southeast Texas, but forecasters warned that parts of northeast Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana could see flash flooding as Imelda’s remnants shifted to the north.
Imelda’s remnants on Thursday led to the deaths of two men. A 19-year-old man drowned and was electrocuted while trying to move his horse to safety, according to a message from his family shared by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Crystal Holmes, a spokeswoman for the department, said the death occurred during a lightning storm.
A man in his 40s or 50s drowned when he tried to drive a van through 8-foot-deep floodwaters near Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston during the Thursday afternoon rush hour, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
The National Weather Service said preliminary estimates suggested that Jefferson County was deluged with more than 40 inches of rain in a span of just 72 hours, which would make it the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone to hit the continental U.S.
“The issue is that you can’t get 40 inches of rain in a 72-hour period and be fully prepared for that,” Jefferson County spokeswoman Allison Getz told The Associated Press on Friday. “At this point we haven’t been able to fully assess what’s happened.”
Even when Houston was finally rid of the worst, downtown highways remained littered with abandoned cars submerged in water. Thousands of other drivers were at a practical standstill on narrowed lanes near flooded banks.
“The water kept rising. It kept rising. I couldn’t believe it,” said Ruby Trahan Robinson, 63. She uses a wheelchair and had a portable oxygen tank while getting settled into a shelter at City Hall in the small town of China, just outside Beaumont.
“It rolled in like a river,” she said.
Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, evoked the memory of Harvey—which dumped more than 50 inches of rain on the nation’s fourth-largest city in 2017—while pleading with residents to stay put.
The flooding from Imelda came as Hurricane Humberto blew off rooftops and toppled trees in the British Atlantic island of Bermuda, and Hurricane Jerry was expected to move to the northern Leeward Islands on Friday and north of Puerto Rico on Saturday. In Mexico, people in Los Cabos were preparing for Hurricane Lorena’s arrival.