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The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda dumped up to 43 inches of rain within three days in the areas between Winnie and Beaumont, east of Houston. Most of that rain fell in just 24 hours.
Some residents whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Harvey two years ago are now seeing rain seeping into their houses yet again.
“It was really just intense rainfall that wouldn’t stop. It was very [Hurricane] Harvey-like,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
At least two deaths were reported on Thursday as the floodwaters rose: one man who drowned after driving into floodwaters and a second man who was electrocuted and drowned while trying to move his horse, according to authorities.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday declared a state of disaster for 13 counties as the floodwaters climbed up to the door handles of SUVs.
In Harris County, which encompasses Houston, more than 1,000 people were rescued. Some residents used tractors and air boats to pull other to safety.
A Harris County Sheriff’s sergeant was heading to rescue a man stranded in floodwaters early Friday when the fast current trapped him, Sheriff Gonzalez said. The sergeant, who had lost all contact with the department, clung to a tree branch to avoid the quick current until both men could be rescued, Gonzalez said.
“We collectively just held our breath for a minute … we’re just all relieved,” said the sheriff, who knows the sergeant personally.
Jayden Payne, a student at Aldine Senior High School in Houston, was in the car with his mom when he saw an SUV head into a ditch — “and it was going down fast.”
Payne said he ran over, dodging other cars, and dove into the water to help pull a mother and daughter to safety.
“I was frightened for the little girl because I could tell she was 4 years old. And I was like, ‘She’s too young for her life to get taken away right now,'” he told ABC News. “They were both too young.”
Mustang football player Jayden Payne jumped into the water to help save a woman and her toddler when the car they were in went into the ditch running beside Aldine HS. Great job Jayden…and the 2 other men who risked their lives to help another! @AldineHS_AISD@AldineISDpic.twitter.com/dyCWoCsx7l
Houston, the nation’s 4th largest city, saw over 9 inches of rainfall on Thursday, the wettest September day ever recorded there.
About 200 students from the Aldine Independent School District were forced to spend the night at school after they couldn’t get home due to the flooding, ABC Houston station KTRK reported.
Houston public schools were closed Friday.
This week’s downpour is the fourth highest amount of rain from a tropical system in Texas’ recorded history, as well as the seventh highest amount of rain from a tropical system in U.S. recorded history.
Hurricane Harvey brought 60 inches of rain to Texas two years ago, which remains the U.S. record for most rain from a tropical system.
And the threat isn’t over.
Scattered showers and thunderstorms hovered over southeastern Texas Friday afternoon and a flash flood watch remains in effect from Houston to Beaumont through Friday night.
While significant rainfall isn’t expected Friday, heavy downpours may strike, which will exacerbate the already saturated ground.
ABC News’ Clayton Sandell, Gina Sunseri and Mya Green contributed to this report.