Alberto Lopez, right, helps his wife Glenda wade through floodwaters as they evacuate their flooded apartment complex in Houston on Monday, April 18.
David J. Phillip/AP
Alberto Lopez, right, helps his wife Glenda wade through floodwaters as they evacuate their flooded apartment complex in Houston on Monday, April 18.
Now playing
02:35
Death toll rising after Houston flooding
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NOAA-20 acquired this image of Hurricane Laura at 2:20 a.m. Central Daylight Time on August 26, 2020.
NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NOAA-20 acquired this image of Hurricane Laura at 2:20 a.m. Central Daylight Time on August 26, 2020.
Now playing
01:13
Another active hurricane season is forecasted with 17 named storms
Ankur Singh
Now playing
00:58
Watch a huge waterspout loom over Panama City Beach
Now playing
00:56
Historic snowstorm pummels Colorado
Cesar Villaseñor
Now playing
01:13
Dramatic video shows inside the tornado in Alabama
Now playing
00:52
Truck slides down slick hill after winter storm
Larry Pierson, from the Isle of Palms, S.C., purchases bottled water from the Harris Teeter grocery store on the Isle of Palms in preparation for Hurricane Florence at the Isle of Palms S.C., Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Mic Smith/AP
Larry Pierson, from the Isle of Palms, S.C., purchases bottled water from the Harris Teeter grocery store on the Isle of Palms in preparation for Hurricane Florence at the Isle of Palms S.C., Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Now playing
00:57
How to prepare for a hurricane
IN SPACE - In this handout photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Patricia is seen from the International Space Station. The hurricane made landfall on the Pacfic coast of Mexico on October 23. (Photo by Scott Kelly/NASA via Getty Images)
NASA
IN SPACE - In this handout photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Patricia is seen from the International Space Station. The hurricane made landfall on the Pacfic coast of Mexico on October 23. (Photo by Scott Kelly/NASA via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:07
Why hurricanes are so hard to predict
Storm chasing photographers take photos underneath a rotating supercell storm system in Maxwell, Nebraska on September 3, 2016. Although multiple tornado warnings were issued throughout the area, no funnel cloud touched down. / AFP / Josh Edelson / XGTY
RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE  / MANDATORY CREDIT:  "AFP PHOTO / Josh EDELSON" / NO MARKETING / NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS /  DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS  ==        (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSH EDELSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Storm chasing photographers take photos underneath a rotating supercell storm system in Maxwell, Nebraska on September 3, 2016. Although multiple tornado warnings were issued throughout the area, no funnel cloud touched down. / AFP / Josh Edelson / XGTY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / MANDATORY CREDIT: "AFP PHOTO / Josh EDELSON" / NO MARKETING / NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS / DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS == (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:59
The difference between a tornado watch and a warning
Now playing
01:26
Hurricanes: What you don't know
Courtesy Amy Lloyd
Now playing
01:06
Why flash floods are so dangerous
Now playing
01:54
Why snow and blackouts in Texas are a preview for all of us
TOPSHOT - A city worker drives through the flooded street during Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida on September 16, 2020. - Hurricane Sally barrelled into the US Gulf Coast early Wednesday, with forecasts of drenching rains that could provoke "historic" and potentially deadly flash floods.The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the Category 2 storm hit Gulf Shores, Alabama at about 4:45 am (0945 GMT), bringing maximum sustained winds of about 105 miles (165 kilometers) per hour."Historic life-threatening flooding likely along portions of the northern Gulf coast," the Miami-based center had warned late Tuesday, adding the hurricane could dump up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain in some areas. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - A city worker drives through the flooded street during Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida on September 16, 2020. - Hurricane Sally barrelled into the US Gulf Coast early Wednesday, with forecasts of drenching rains that could provoke "historic" and potentially deadly flash floods.The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the Category 2 storm hit Gulf Shores, Alabama at about 4:45 am (0945 GMT), bringing maximum sustained winds of about 105 miles (165 kilometers) per hour."Historic life-threatening flooding likely along portions of the northern Gulf coast," the Miami-based center had warned late Tuesday, adding the hurricane could dump up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain in some areas. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:41
How to prepare for severe weather
Franck Verdière/Twitter
Now playing
01:10
What 'rapid intensification' means for storms
Now playing
01:29
Steer like this to stay out of accidents in the snow
east coast storm waves noreaster orig mg_00001813.png
Brandon Clement / Live Storms Media
east coast storm waves noreaster orig mg_00001813.png
Now playing
01:07
Massive waves crash over top of coastal homes

Story highlights

At least 7 people die in flooding in the Houston area, officials say

Houston will shuttle evacuees back home so they can try to salvage belongings

Forecasters expect more rain in the next few days

(CNN) —  

While some parts of Houston are starting to recover from paralyzing flooding, some residents believe the worst is yet to come.

The problem: Cypress Creek in northwest Houston keeps rising and still hasn’t crested, officials say, and forecasters expect more rain Wednesday.

In the town of Klein, John Martin stuffed his suitcase and bolted for a friend’s house.

“I got a week’s worth of clothes and all my important papers,” he said.

Neighbors pull Ahmed Sharma and his wife, Emily, to safety after floodwater deluged their apartment complex in Klein, Texas.
CNN
Neighbors pull Ahmed Sharma and his wife, Emily, to safety after floodwater deluged their apartment complex in Klein, Texas.

His new car was one of dozens partially submerged in the complex parking lot, which now looks like a dirty brown pool. Neighbors tore down a fence in the back of the complex to move their cars to higher ground.

Ahmed Sharma and his wife, Emily, couldn’t leave their apartment without the help of an inflatable raft tugged by their neighbors.

“We all knew it was going to rain, but we didn’t know it was going to be this bad,” Emily Sharma said.

The catastrophic flooding has killed seven people, flooded 1,000 homes and caused more than $5 billion in damage.

The Houston-area community of Hockley got pummeled with 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. That’s more rain than Salt Lake City gets in a year.

Houston flooding: By the numbers

“I think the worst is over for a lot of these areas,” CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, there’s still plenty of rainfall in the forecast.”

While the flooding began to subside in some places Tuesday, the Houston area can expect another 1 to 3 inches over the next few days, Javaheri said.

State of disaster

Of the seven fatalities, four people died in Houston, two died elsewhere in Harris County, and one person died in Waller County, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and Houston police said.

Houston flooding: By the numbers

  • 240 billion: Gallons of rain that fell in the Houston area
  • 363,400: The number of Olympic-size swimming pools that would fill
  • $5 billion: Amount of property damage in Harris County alone
  • 123,000: Homes that lost power (most now have electricity again)
  • 1,200: High-water rescues made
  • 1,000: Homes flooded
  • 9: Counties in a state of disaster

Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for nine counties in and around the Houston area.

Emergency crews made more than 1,200 high-water rescues as some residents swam out of their homes.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city will offer shuttle service to evacuees staying in shelters so they can return home and pick up any belongings “that may be salvageable.”

He said many residents are eager to see what happened to their homes.

“We want to ease people’s anxiety as much as possible,” the mayor said.

Slow recovery

At the height of the flooding, about 123,000 homes had no power, said CenterPoint Energy, the utility company that serves most of the Houston area.

By midday Tuesday, crews had restored power to most of the homes.

And the city has started making schedules for debris collection, said Janice Evans, spokeswoman for the mayor’s office.

But given Houston’s flat topography, the floodwaters won’t disappear anytime soon, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

’Turn around, don’t drown’

The flooding this week made for some dramatic rescues, including a man who was seconds away from being submerged.

Just before members of a news crew from KTRK were about to go on air at the edge of a flooded road, they saw the man’s black Toyota Prius drive into the water and quickly float away.

The man opened the door, and reporter Steve Campion yelled for him to get out of the car.

“You gotta get out!” he yelled. The man hesitated as Campion yelled, “Swim! Swim! Leave the car. Swim!”

The man finally swam toward Campion, and as the reporter helped him onto dry land, the car disappeared beneath the water.

Campion said later, “It certainly is a reminder to turn around, don’t drown. We say that in Houston so often, but you really never know how deep the water is.”

Billions of gallons of rain

An estimated 240 billion gallons of rain fell on the Houston area in the past few days, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said.

He called it the most significant flood event since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, which left 41 people dead. It caused more than $5 billion in property damage in Harris County alone, the county’s Flood Control District said.

CNN’s Ed Lavandera reported from Houston, and Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Azadeh Ansari, Dave Alsup, Shawn Nottingham and Sheena Jones contributed to this report.