More than a foot of rain drenched the city of Houston, Texas yesterday, resulting in the deaths of at least five people and 10 horses trapped in rising flood waters. City officials are calling the situation a “life-threatening emergency,” estimating that the Houston area has received more than 240 billion gallons of rain as of Monday afternoon. Rainfall and thunderstorms are expected to continue throughout the day on Tuesday before the system moves off to the northeast.

Harris County has been hardest hit by the storms, where at least 1,000 homes have been flooded and crews performed more than 1,200 high-water rescues on Monday. Among these were the rescue of dozens of the more than 80 horses of Cypress Trails Equestrian Center, where authorities and civilian volunteers worked side-by-side to guide horses trapped in the fast-moving Cypress Creek current to dry land. Horse owners arrived with ropes and boats, often clashing with Harris County deputies at the scene who were working to keep people safe and out of the water.

Among the volunteers were Justin Nelzen, a former marine, who strapped on a red lifejacket and went to work guiding horses in the water to safety. “To me, these aren’t just horses, they’re part of the family,” he told You can read the full report here or watch clips from the rescue below.