Sunday, August 27, 2017

Catastrophic flooding across southeast Texas from Harvey

Severe flooding is occurring in Houston, where over 20 inches of rain has fallen from hurricane Harvey. (KHOU) 
What was hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, continues to impact southeast Texas late Sunday. The center of Harvey is spinning slowly southeast towards the Gulf of Mexico, while drawing copious amounts of tropical moisture inland. The hardest hit region continues to be the Houston/Galveston metro area, where a flash flood emergency has been declared. Some locations have reported over 20 inches (500 mm) of rain since Friday night. Dayton, Texas leads the way with 27.45 inches (658 mm). The result has been devastating, unprecedented flooding. Both airports in Houston are closed. Thousands of water rescues have taken place since last evening, by both local authorities and the US Coast Guard. Resources continue to pour into the region to help the overwhelmed local authorities. Most highways bisecting Houston are under water at this time, with travel prohibited. So far at least one hospital, the studios of KHOU TV, and several prisons have been evacuated.

Harvey, located 25 miles northwest of Victoria, Texas, is expected to drift into the northern Gulf of Mexico this week, before moving slowly back into east Texas. Heavy rain, perhaps another 20 inches is expected before the storm leaves the area by next Thursday. Catastrophic flooding is forecast to continue, with most rivers and bayous exceeding record flood stage. The record for the most rainfall in Texas is 48 inches (1219 mm) at Medina in August 1978. This record may be challenged with Harvey, with heavy rain forecast through the upcoming week.

Further down the coast, the clean-up is underway in Rockport and Port Aransas, where widespread severe damage occurred on Friday, August 24. Numerous buildings were completely destroyed by Harvey's 130 mph winds and 12 foot storm surge. So far two fatalities and approximately 100 injuries have been reported.

Severe damage occurred in Rockport, Texas, when Harvey made landfall Friday, August 25. (TWC)

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