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Tropical Depression Imelda rains cancel 650+ flights

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Officials in Houston and surrounding communities say Houston and the surrounding communities could get more heavy rain from Tropical Depression Imelda on Thursday. The storm’s remnants spawned several weak tornadoes on Wednesday. (Sept. 19)
AP, AP

Tropical Depression Imelda didn’t need hurricane-force winds to bring Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to a standstill Thursday morning. 

At 10:34 a.m. EDT, the airport’s Twitter account warned that it was “at a full ground stop” due to thunderstorms and flash floods in the region. It resumed flight operations about 90 minutes later but cautioned that many roads around the airport were flooded and many flights were delayed.

There were 655 cancellations and 230 delays for flights into, out of or through Houston (IAH) as of 3:20 p.m. EDT, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

Arrival delays averaged an hour for most of the morning before dropping slightly in the afternoon. Departures were leaving between 15 to 29 minutes late. The site also noted that inbound aircraft had been held at their destination airports for an average of over 3½ hours. 

The airport urged passengers to check with their airlines for flight status updates.

Airline waivers

United, which has a hub at Bush Intercontinental (IAH), has waived change fees for travel originally scheduled to, from or through that airport between Tuesday, Sept. 17, and Friday, Sept. 20, as long as the original reservation was made by Wednesday, Sept. 18. The new flight must depart by Monday, Sept. 23, and be for the same cities and cabin as the original reservation. Click “View your reservation” on the airline’s website to make changes.

Delta has also waived change fees for flights involving both IAH and William P. Hobby (HOU) that were scheduled to depart between Tuesday through Friday. Tickets must be rebooked, and travel must begin by Monday. 

Southwest customers with flight reservations to, from or through Houston Hobby (HOU) scheduled for Tuesday through Friday can rebook their flights within 14 days of the original travel date without incurring a change fee. 

Frontier has waived change fees for passengers who purchased tickets by Monday, Sept. 16, for travel to, from or through IAH between Tuesday and Thursday. Travel must be completed by Oct. 4.

40 inches of rain ‘worse than Harvey’:  Hundreds rescued from floods as Imelda drenches Texas

The storm, now a post-tropical cyclone, dropped 40 inches of rain on the Texas city over the course of three days, causing some to remark that the storm was actually worse than 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.

According to the National Weather Service, Houston was under a flash flood warning through 1:30 p.m. CDT. Sensors near the airport detected 3.4 inches of rain fell between 8:37 and 9:37 a.m. CDT. Visibility got as low as a quarter-mile during the worst of the rain.

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