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File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(HOUSTON) -- Flash flooding in Houston has left roads blocked, drivers stranded and homes destroyed, according to officials.

Roadways in the Houston area are blocked, drivers are stranded and homes have been destroyed due to flash flooding, according to officials.

Between 6 and 10 inches of rain had fallen in the region by early Tuesday, with additional rain possible.

As a result of the rainfall and flooded roadways, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for the Texas counties of Harris and Fort Bend. Residents are urged not to travel unless they are fleeing a flooded area. That emergency was set to expire at 2:45 a.m. local time.

The high water shut down the Katy Freeway eastbound and westbound at the 610 West loop.

Hundreds of homes are currently impacted by the flooding, Harris County Emergency management said.

The White Oak Bayou in Houston is rapidly rising and spilling over highways. It is currently at major flood stage and is expected to rise to more than 40 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The last time the bayou crested to this level was during Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Those conditions caused some fans at Houston’s Toyota Center to remain in their seats following Monday’s Western Conference Finals basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

Fans and players were asked not to leave the arena following the Rockets’ 128-115 Game 4 victory.

The flash flooding follows a series of deadly, powerful storms across the southern Great Plains. Earlier Monday, a tornado ripped through Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, a city on the U.S.-Mexico border, killing at least 13 people.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added 24 counties Monday to the list of those where he has declared a state of emergency, and he said with more rain in the forecast, he could add additional counties.

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Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The city of Cleveland has reached a settlement with the Justice Department over charges of police brutality, according to The New York Times.

The news comes as hundreds took to the streets to protest a judge's decision not to convict a white police officer in the 2012 fatal shootings of an unarmed black couple. On Saturday, Officer Michael Brelo was cleared in the killing of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, as they sat in their car.

"It's a tragedy because no one is being held accountable," Michelle Russell, Timothy Russell's sister, said Saturday.

The settlement, the details of which were unknown, could be announced Tuesday, according to The Times. In December, Attorney General Eric Holder said there was reasonable cause to believe that the Cleveland Division of Police engaged in a pattern of excessive force.

After an investigation of nearly 600 "troubling, high-profile use of force incidents" between 2010 and 2013, "we determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Cleveland division of public police engages in a pattern and practice of using excessive force," Holder said in December.

ABC News' calls to city officials, including the mayor's office and the police department, were not returned.

Prosecutors said Brelo, 31, was one of 13 officers who fired 137 times into the couple's car in the November 2012 shooting. The 22-mile, high-speed chase through Cleveland began when an officer tried pulling over Timony Russell for a turn signal violation. His car backfired while speeding away, causing officers to think someone in the car had fired a gun.

At the end of the chase, Brelo stood on the car's hood when it was stopped and shot 15 times into the windshield, said prosecutors. Brelo told the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation that he thought he and his partner were being shot at. Russell and Williams were each shot more than 20 times.

No gun was ever found in the car. Brelo was the only officer charged criminally because prosecutors said he had intended to kill the couple, alleging that he'd reloaded during the shooting barrage and that it was his final salvo that killed the couple. On Saturday, the judge ruled that Brelo's use of deadly force was constitutionally reasonable based on how the events unfolded.

Protests, mostly peaceful, quickly followed the acquittal. Cleveland police made 71 arrests during Saturday's demonstrations, Chief Calvin Williams said during a news conference Sunday. Of those arrests, the majority were arraigned on misdemeanor charges and released from jail. Three who were wanted on unrelated felony charges are still being held.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich praised the people of Cleveland, calling its residents a "model" in their response to the judge's ruling.

Community leaders said on Sunday, however, that they were growing anxious as they awaited the results into the police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The youth was fatally shot by police officers on Nov. 22 while he was holding a toy gun in a Cleveland playground. Earlier this month, the sheriff leading the investigation said that "the majority of our work is complete."

"Obviously, there are concerns," said the Rev. Jawanza Colvin of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. "A simmering pot is only a few degrees from boiling. ... What I'm concerned about is what we do in between the Brelo case and the Tamir Rice investigation. We need to be focused on reforms."

There is no word yet on when the Tamir Rice decision will be announced.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- A manhunt continues in New Orleans after a police officer was found shot dead in his marked patrol car Sunday.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office identified the victim Monday as James Bennett, Jr., 45.

Bennett, a Housing Authority of New Orleans Police Officer since 2013, had previously worked in the sheriff’s office Reserve Division -- a volunteer unit that supplements regular officers.

The shooting was reported at 7 a.m. Sunday, the New Orleans Police Department said in a news release. The victim's car rolled forward and struck a curb after the shooting.

"The death of this HANO police officer is an unspeakable tragedy, and a vile and cowardly act,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement following the officer’s death. “Tragedies that involve our men and women in uniform affect our entire city and touch every member of our law enforcement community. We are deeply saddened by this loss, and our hearts and prayers are with the officer's friends and family and with the entire HANO family during this very difficult time.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


tzahiV/iStock/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A waterspout that went ashore at a Florida beach turned dangerous after it hit an inflated bouncy castle that had four children inside.

The swirling column of wind and ocean water that formed in Fort Lauderdale hit the ground this morning and video shows that it headed straight towards the childrens' amusement ride.

The video, obtained by ABC News affiliate WPBF-TV, shows the bouncy castle get caught in the wind, flipping over repeatedly before it was swept even further up in the air.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department reported that the waterspout "uprooted" the inflatable and it was "sent across parking lot into roadway."

While police reported there were three children were inside the castle, WPBF-TV said one of the children was seriously injured.

The ages of the children were not immediately known.


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New York State Police(NEW YORK) -- A body was found this weekend near the location where a man disappeared after his kayak capsized on the Hudson River in New York State, authorities said.

Vincent Viafore, 46, disappeared last month while he was kayaking with his fiancée, Angelika Graswald, 35, authorities said. About two weeks later, prosecutors charged Graswald with second-degree murder.

The pair, both of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., were kayaking together in April, authorities said, when Viafore's kayak filled with water, causing it to capsize.

As the kayak case continues, here is what authorities have said so far:

The kayaking trip:

New York State Police initially said rough water and strong winds caused Viafore's kayak to overturn.

Graswald, a Latvian national, called 911, according to police, who initially said that she tried to help him. While trying to help her fiance, she fell out of her kayak, police said, but was later found by a boater and rescued. Police noted at the time of the incident that Graswald was treated for hypothermia at a local hospital and released.

Then, prosecutors said last month that Graswald admitted to investigators that she tampered with Viafore's kayak so that it would take on water.

Prosecutors said Graswald also told police that she watched Viafore struggle in the Hudson's icy waters for several minutes before he went under.

Prosecutors said Graswald admitted to New York State Police it "felt good knowing that he was going to die," and implied that "this was her only way out."

Angelika Graswald charged with murder:

About two weeks after the incident, police charged Graswald with second-degree murder.

Her motive, prosecutors said, was two life insurance policies that could benefit her for a total of about $250,000. Graswald even "talked about what she could possibly do with the money," prosecutors said.

Graswald's lawyer has said he plans to challenge the alleged confessions.

"We're going to find out whether they indeed happened, whether they were voluntary or forced," Graswald's attorney, Richard Portale, said of the alleged confessions reported by prosecutors. "And it's all going to come out."

Graswald has not yet entered a plea. Her bail has been set at $3 million.

A body in the Hudson:

This Saturday, a body was found in the Hudson River near where Viafore disappeared.

New York State Police said the body was pulled from the river near West Point and was taken to the Orange County Medical Examiner for an autopsy and identification. Police released no identifying information about the body.

Viafore's family declined to comment to ABC News.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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