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Manila, Philippines

Storm Leaves High Water and Homes Without Power

February 19, 2012

By Carol Christian, The Houston Chronicle

Storms pounded the Houston area early Saturday, leaving roads flooded and cars stranded.

Rainfall totals ranged from about 1.5 inches in Cypress Creek to 3.36 inches on Brays Bayou as the storm headed toward Louisiana Saturday morning, according to the Harris County Flood Control District.

"There's a swath of 2- to 3-inch rainfall from roughly Sugar Land to downtown Houston to Crosby," said Brian Kyle, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in League City.

Saturday's heavy rain, with the usual flash flooding in low spots, led to inevitable trouble on the roadway.

About 8 a.m., the Pasadena Volunteer Fire Department and Houston Police Department dive team responded to a passer-by's report of a submerged vehicle on Genoa Red Bluff near Red Bluff.

The abandoned Ford F-150 pickup was pulled from the adjacent bayou about 12:15 p.m., Pasadena Fire Chief Lanny Armstrong said.

"When we got here, you could see (only) about a foot-and-a-half of the roof of the vehicle," Armstrong said a few minutes after a wrecker pulled the truck out.

A nearby resident told the chief he saw the pickup about 6:30 a.m. when it was stuck in mud on the bank of Armand Bayou, before the bayou rose 10 to 12 feet, engulfing the vehicle.

"Nobody was hurt. That was the main thing," he said.

Across the Houston area, wrecker drivers reported a flurry of calls.

Homer Salinas, a driver for Homer's Wrecker Services in southeast Houston, said, "They want us to go in the water to get their car. Would you sacrifice your truck in a flooded area to go and get a car that's stuck?"

The man told police he called out to the child, who was unresponsive and swept downstream by the current, HPD spokesman Kese Smith said.

Search mounted

A search by the HPD dive team and officers in a helicopter yielded no results, and it is unknown whether there was actually a child in the water, said Smith.

HPD was unaware of any missing persons who were a likely match with the child, Smith said, although the caller seemed "sure about what he saw."

Police stopped the bayou search and had no plans to resume it unless there was another report, Smith said.

The Studemont-area report was likely unrelated, Smith said, to a Houston Fire Department search downstream near Commerce Street, which also yielded no results.

CenterPoint Energy reported more than 22,000 customers without power at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, but by 4:30 p.m., the number had fallen to about 1,370.

Look for drier and cooler conditions on Sunday, which will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid-60s and north winds of 10 to 15 mph. Overnight lows are expected to be in the upper 40s.

___

Chronicle reporters Joshua Mann and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 the Houston Chronicle

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