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Houston-area residents cleaning up after weekend storms, flooding

Sunday, April 28, 2013
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It was a busy Sunday for some residents in southwest Houston who had a lot to clean up after rising floodwaters seeped into their homes.

Homeowners on Ludington Drive in Westbury spent Sunday morning ripping up and cleaning up.

Ali Forouzan says the water came up fast, first seeping into his garage and then seeping in just about everywhere else. He went outside to see what he could do, and saw water and debris backing up against his fence line.

Right on the other side of the homes is a bayou neighbors say was filled with floodwaters, but they say that wasn't the source of the flooding. They say the water that came into their homes came from the street.

"I've been here 22 years, and it seems to be getting worse every year," neighbor Nat Uresti said.

Uresti added that cars trying to make it down the flooded roads made things worse, sending waves of water slamming into his home.

"Finally, I got a piece of board and put it in front of my front door, and it kind of stopped the water from coming in," he said.

As for Forouzan, he did what he could, but the water kept coming. After a long night without power, he's saving what he can and throwing out the rest.

"We cannot blame nobody. It's a natural disaster. But the city needs to do something about the sewers," Forouzan said.

The homeowners we spoke to say the flood caused thousands of dollars in damage to their homes. They are still waiting to see what their insurance covers.

STRANDED BY STORMS

Dozens of people across the Houston area spent part of Saturday and into Sunday morning camped out inside their cars surrounded by flood waters.

Several cars were submerged under more than a foot of water in parts of town and some drivers say they had to jump out of their cars to survive.

One by one, cars that were stranded were towed, which means some drivers who were stranded will have big tow truck bills to pay. That includes drivers who were on Highway 288 near the South Loop, which was one of the worst locations around town.

The rain was so fierce that it triggered a major flood and the entire area was totally submerged for hours. Drivers say it was scary and intense when the water started to rise and many drivers say they didn't see the dangerous conditions coming.

"The water just started flooding, coming up real quick out of nowhere," said stranded driver Thomas Trevino.

Saturday night, police officers near the Southwest Freeway at Bellfort had to block off an entire road, where several cars were submerged under more than a foot of water.

"The car turned off, so then, little by little, the water started to come up," said driver Nabil Durand, who was stranded near the Southwest Freeway at Bellfort.

"So what's going through your mind?" we asked.

"Be safe. That's it."

Nabil says he jumped out of the car and just left it there, saying there was nothing else he could do.

"It was flooded so bad. We couldn't really get through there," he said. "So I had to just maneuver and come and pull over."

During the storm, officials received numerous calls to help people trapped by floodwaters, but even first responders had a hard time reaching people. A viewer sent us pictures of an emergency vehicle trying to drive through high water near Harwin. Though the ambulance didn't get stuck, it did take a while for it to get through the water.

If your car was towed in the city of Houston and you need to find out where it was taken, go to FindMyTowedCar.com.

DAMAGE FROM SATURDAY'S STORM

The National Weather Service reported quarter- and dime-size hail in West University and southwest Houston, as well as in La Porte and Tomball. It ranged from pea-sized to golf-ball size in The Woodlands. There were also numerous reports of trees down and other various wind damage.

"Oh, it was devastating," said driver Larry Gray. "I was right there at Buffalo Speedway and Kirby and it probably hailed for like an inch on the ground. I thought it was tornado, the wind was blowing so hard."

The storm caused the roof of one Sugar Land store to collapse while the owners were still inside. It happened at Famis Food Market at Dulles and Lexington. The city of Sugar Land is blaming the collapse on lots of water collecting on the roof during the storm. The owners say they were inside and heard the roof start to crack then it collapsed.

HOSPITAL LOSES POWER

A hospital in Channelview had to relocate its patients overnight after the storm caused the facility to lose power. It happened at Kindred Hospital East Houston on the East Freeway after the storm caused the entire hospital to lose power. Patients were transported to other Kindred Hospitals.

LIGHTNING STARTS STORAGE FACILITY FIRE

Meanwhile, Cy-Fair fire officials say lightning is to blame for a blaze that erupted at an oil storage facility behind a church off FM 529 during the afternoon.

MORE THAN 46,000 WITHOUT POWER

At the height of the storm Saturday, CenterPoint reported more than 46,000 power outages. As of 7:30am Sunday, there were a little more than 8,000 without power.

MARCH FOR BABIES CANCELED

The storms and flooding also led to the cancellation of the March for Babies, which had been scheduled for Sunday at the University of Houston.

"We are truly disappointed to make this decision, but the safety of our volunteers, participants and staff is of utmost importance," said Marybeth Flaherty, March of Dimes Houston, Executive Director. "We thank all of our walkers, teams and sponsors for their support of Texas moms and babies. We look forward to many March for Babies to come."

MORE RAIN ON THE WAY

Saturday's heavy storms robbed the atmosphere of moisture so we didn't get much rain Sunday afternoon. Weak disturbances will give us scattered storms through Wednesday. We'll have a better chance for rain on Thursday when a strong cold front moves through. That front will give us another dose of record cold temperatures by Friday and Saturday morning.

REPORT DEBRIS

The city of Houston is asking residents to report any street flooding or trees/debris in roadways by calling 311.

If you have photos or videos of this event, email photos or videos to news@abc13.com or upload them on iwitness.abc13.com.

Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for the latest details on the weather conditions.

-- Check real-time temps on our street-level weather map
-- Check a live stream of Mega Doppler 13
-- Check the extended forecast


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