By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) - Torrential rain triggered flooding on the streets of Houston and sent spectators fleeing from a circus south of the Texas city, officials said on Saturday, as the storm system headed east toward Louisiana and neighboring states.
The heavy rainfall followed a front that built up along the Gulf Coast, causing moisture to accumulate along it, said Mark Paquette, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com.
Up to five inches of rain fell in some parts of Houston on Friday and into early Saturday. Water accumulated in streets with poor drainage and caused flooding, Paquette said.
CNN showed video footage of cars in the region slogging through flooded streets with water lapping at their wheel wells.
Despite the flooding, no fatal vehicle accidents were reported overnight and emergency teams did not have to be called to rescue anyone from swirling waters, said Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva.
Spectators at a Carson & Barnes Circus performance on Friday night at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds south of Houston had a scary moment when the storm descended on the big top.
The tent shook in the wind and one pole came down, causing the canvas to sag a little as spectators headed for the exits, said Aurea Posso, a secretary with the circus.
"The tent shook really hard but it didn't come down," Posso said.
Corpus Christi, a city about 180 miles southwest of Houston, received nearly 2 inches of rain on Friday and early on Saturday, with most of the rainfall occurring in a short night-time burst that caused water to accumulate, Paquette said.
The rainstorm on Saturday morning was moving east toward Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and localized flash flooding could occur in those states, Paquette said.
New Orleans received less than an inch of rain on Saturday, he said.
(Editing by Rosalind Russell)