HOUSTON • Torrential rainfall totalling 46cm has pummelled the city of Houston in Texas, causing at least five deaths and creating a transport nightmare.
More than 1,000 homes were flooded in and around Houston, with more than 1,000 rescues.
"This is the most I have ever seen in the state of Texas," Governor Greg Abbott said of the rescues.
Floods also hit highways running through Houston, including Interstate 10, a major United States East-West corridor. Mayor Sylvester Turner has instructed all non-essential city employees to stay home.
"This is not a day to be on the roads in the city of Houston," he said.
The city turned one shopping mall into an evacuation centre, as more than 40,000 electricity customers were left without power.
By Monday evening, more than 1,200 flights at major airports in Texas were cancelled.
Dozens of horses from a flooded stable were seen struggling in neck-high currents.
Rivers are expected to crest later in the week, bringing floods to downstream areas, the weather service said.
In South America, storms and floods in Uruguay have killed at least eight people and driven 4,000 from their homes in recent days, the authorities said on Monday.
Four were killed and 200 injured when a storm struck the western city of Dolores last Friday, and three others were later found to have died while trying to cross flooded rivers.
Countless buildings were also destroyed in Dolores.
Uruguay's National Emergency System said at least 4,031 people across the country had been forced to abandon their homes after rivers burst their banks. In the hardest-hit town, Rosario, waters from the Rosario River swept away houses.
Meanwhile in Chile, four days of rain, which intensified over the weekend, sent water tumbling off the Andes mountains and into the capital Santiago, cutting water supplies to as many as four million people and triggering a landslide that killed at least two. The rains have resulted in a probe by the authorities into a construction firm and a highway operator, after roadworks diverted torrential rains into a wealthy neighbourhood of Santiago, flooding shops, restaurants and basements. A canal to divert the Mapocho River around the US$197 million (S$264 million) project overflowed when the floodwaters reached almost twice the volume it was designed for.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG