Houston submerged after wild weather

2015-05-26 21:09
Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (David J Phillip, AP)

Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (David J Phillip, AP)

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Houston - Torrential rain left large parts of Houston submerged on Tuesday and trapped fans at an NBA basketball game, in savage weather that has killed nearly 20 people in the United States and Mexico.

The southern US states of Texas and Oklahoma, and far northern Mexico, have borne the brunt of several days of wild weather, including tornadoes, which have destroyed homes, seen rivers swell to record levels and left cars submerged on highways.

More than 250mm of heavy rain fell in just a few hours in the Texas city of Houston, triggering the worst flooding there in at least a decade and stranding at an arena spectators who had gone to watch a Houston Rockets basketball game on Monday night.

Images from a local CBS affiliate in Houston showed abandoned cars entirely submerged on roadways and flooded streets abandoned. Some people were trapped in their cars, other marooned in their homes.

One person died overnight in the flooding in the city, local media reported.

Downtown Houston, where the Toyota Center arena is located, was not under water, said Mayor Annise Parker, but some fans had been unable to get home from the NBA game after the deluge.

"We had a torrential downpour as the game was ending and a lot of folks were asked to stay until the rain let up and there was localised street flooding," Parker told CNN.

Fears were growing meanwhile for at least 12 people missing in Hays County, also in Texas, officials said.

One person was already confirmed dead there and two more died in Oklahoma, which is located to the north of Texas.

South of the border, Mexico has also felt Mother Nature's wrath.

A savage twister roared through the Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuna at dawn on Monday, killing at least 13 people and flattening hundreds of homes in a deadly six-second blast of carnage, officials said.

Images from the aftermath showed several crumpled vehicles resting against walls and roofs as shellshocked inhabitants of the town of 136 000 struggled to make sense of the devastation.

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