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Heavy rain and flash flooding have killed at least 16 people in Texas and Oklahoma and led to around 1,000 calls for help from residents in Houston, officials say.
The downpours turned streets into rivers and destroyed hundreds of homes after storms struck the US states during the Memorial Day weekend.
The death toll is expected to rise with numerous people still missing in Texas.
Among the missing are members of two families who were in a holiday home that was swept away over the weekend.
Two of the dead in Houston were found in their cars.
"A lot of folks drove their car into high water and had to abandon those vehicles," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office said six people died in weather-related incidents over the holiday weekend.
President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he had assured Texas Governor Greg Abbott that he could count on help from the federal government as the state recovers from the floods.
A state of disaster has been declared in at least 40 Texas counties, including Harris County, which includes Houston.
Mr Abbott said he had deployed the state's National Guard and is worried the death toll could rise.
"It's devastating to see what I saw on the Blanco River when this tidal wave of water just swept away neighbourhoods," he said.
Thirteen people are confirmed missing due to flooding that hit the Blanco River, county officials said.
The missing are from two families whose vacation home was swept off its foundation in Wimberley, a town around 30 miles southwest of Austin.
About 30 other people who were previously unaccounted for have been contacted, Hays County officials said.
More than 200 flights had been cancelled by early on Tuesday evening local time at airports in Houston and Dallas.
Around 100,000 customers also lost power throughout Texas after the storm due to high winds and rising waters that caused power poles to snap.