Rising flood waters prompt rescues near Houston

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HOUSTON (AP) - Emergency responders in Texas rescued numerous people from rising floodwaters Tuesday as a strong storm battered the Houston area with heavy rain, inundating homes and leaving motorists stranded just two years Hurricane Harvey devastated the area.

As much as 10 inches (254 millimeters) of rain had fallen on some areas around the nation's fourth largest city by Tuesday night, with waters rising above the axles of cars as firefighters and police worked to evacuate some homes and rescue people from vehicles on impassable roads.

Flash flood warnings were issued across multiple counties and the National Weather Service warned that storms could continue to deluge areas along the state's Gulf Coast with rain later into the week.

In Sugar Land, a suburb about 22 miles (35 kilometers) southwest of Houston, more than 7 inches of rain fell in four hours making all major roadways impassable, city officials said in a tweet advising residents to "seek high ground."

The Red Cross opened a shelter at a church in Kingwood, a planned community 28 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of downtown Houston that was especially hard hit by the storm, according to the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The agency issued a level three alert Tuesday and warned that high water levels in the area's rivers and bayous will become a threat until the accumulated rain drains to the Gulf of Mexico. But a spokesman also told the Houston Chronicle that "this is not in any way a Harvey-level event."

The storms soaked part of Texas that have been repeatedly hit by flooding in recent years. Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Aug. 25, 2017, killed 68 people and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas. In the Houston area, Harvey caused 36 deaths and flooded more than 150,000 homes.

The rain this week coincides with the trial in a major case to determine whether resident are entitled to compensation from the federal government after their homes and businesses were flooded by two federally-owned reservoirs during Harvey.