Flooding on Thursday left some Houston neighborhoods swimming in several feet of water, forcing authorities to carry out over 400 deep-sea rescues, Harris County Sheriff's Office said. There were 323 vehicles detained and 22 major accidents.
Chaos continued early Friday when authorities obtained a report that nine barges broke at their moorings on the San Jacinto River, the US Coast Guard said.
At least one barge hit the bridge west along Interstate 10, said Texas Transportation Department spokesman Danny Perez.
Authorities are checking the eastbound bridge for damage, with a full assessment planned when water levels decline, Perez said.
Both bridges were closed for traffic on Friday morning and the movement of the vessels under them remained suspended after heavy currents Thursday night, Perez said.
On Friday night, at least two of the barges were housed under the bridge and one was breached in the mud north of the bridge, the Coast Guard said. The other six were surrounded.
The barges contained soybean oil, lubricating oil, naphtha and monoethylene glycol, the Coast Guard said. There were no reports of pollution and no threat to public health.
There were at least two storm-related deaths, officials said. A 40- and 50-year-old man was pulled Thursday night from a van submerged in floodwater, said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. The man died after being taken to a hospital.
And in Jefferson County, 19-year-old Hunter Morrison died when he was electrocuted and then drowned while trying to move the horse, according to a statement from his family posted on the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. .
Imelda – the seventh wettest tropical cyclone in US history, according to the National Weather Service – poured more than 15 inches of rain in Harris County. Some areas of neighboring Jefferson County have seen huge 43-inch rain.
Parts of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana remain under flood surveillance, the National Meteorological Service said Friday morning.
Parts of Arkansas will also see periods of heavy rainfall throughout Friday, with total rainfall reaching 10 cm in some areas, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.
Neighbors Rescue Neighbors
More than 200 vehicles were towed in Houston on Thursday night, when flood waters began to subside, Houston police Art Boss Acevedo said.
Residents began abandoning their cars after heavy flooding made the roads impassable.
In Beaumont, a town in Jefferson County, neighborhoods turned into lakes and roads looked more like rivers. Two night shelters were opened, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.
Some neighbors helped each other, with a resident saying to the station, "We're just trying to take care of our people."
Floodwater entered Thursday morning on Beaumont KBMT TV station, forcing the news crew to move to sister station KHOU in Houston to transmit.
Authorities urged residents to protect themselves.
"If you are still in an area with standing water, look for higher ground and shelter there" Beaumont police said. "Be patient and call 911 only for emergencies."
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott declared a state of disaster on Thursday for 13 counties.
Comparing Imelda with Harvey
Many residents of southeastern Texas say the storm was similar – and some said worse – than Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 monster landed two years ago in Texas and Louisiana.
That storm broke the american record of rainfall from a single storm, pouring more than 90 cm about 150 km east of Houston. Harvey left the state in devastation with even $ 75 billion in damages. "I'm sick of it," said Sharai Poteet, a resident of Kingwood. CNN KTRK Affiliate.
Poteet spent more than $ 50,000 repairing his home after Harvey, she said, after the storm knocked down 27 trillion gallons of water in Texas and Louisiana.
"I don't understand why we don't have drainage here anymore," she said this week.
Misty Walton's apartment in Vidor, Texas, was flooded with water as Imelda's remains moved around the state.
"Harvey was bad, and that's bad too," Walton said. "People haven't even rebuilt here, and it's happening again."
Her apartment and two cars in the garage were flooded, she said.
"I don't know what we're going to do," said Walton. "But as always, we get together and find a way."
CNN's Konstantin Toropin and Alisha Ebrahimji contributed to this report.