It is neither hyperbole nor simple exaggeration to state that at this point, in the wake of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey’s arrival over Texas, the Houston metro area is in the grip of some of the most significant flooding ever recorded in the United States of America. Specifically, the country’s fourth largest city is experiencing historic rainfall amounts, which could exceed 45 inches over coming days, reaching 50 or more inches in certain locations. That would be the most rainfall ever recorded in Texas, according to the National Weather Service.
As of 3:30 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) on August 27th, two people had been killed as a result of the storm, and over 1,500 rescued from flooded homes, buildings, and roads. Additionally, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport were both closed according to ABC 13 News in Houston.
One of the area’s major public hospitals — Ben Taub Hospital, an acute care facility and Level I trauma center — was also being evacuated, according to KPRC 2 News in Houston, because of flooding that has disrupted the power to the building. Additionally, Interstate 45 was closed in parts of the city because of the flood waters.
The Houston area experienced similar rainfall amounts back in 1979, as Tropical Storm Claudette stalled over the southern part of Texas in a manner similar to Harvey now. During that storm, in the town of Alvin, Texas, “an observer measured a record 43 inches of rainfall in just 24 hours, which stands as the greatest 24-hour rainfall total in United States history,” according to weather.com.
As of 3:30 PM EST on Sunday, parts of the Houston area had already received close to 30 inches of rainfall since Friday morning, according to the Harris County Flood Warning System, with more forecast to come through the week.
— Jared Silverman (@JaredKENS5) August 27, 2017
According to the Associated Press, helicopters, boats, and “high water vehicles” were being used to rescue civilians throughout the Houston area, and live footage on CNN showed what looked to be numerous ordinary citizens out with their own personal water craft and flotation helping their neighbors. The Coast Guard and Texas National Guard were also responding, virtually all of Texas’ available first responder units that could make it, as well as assets from neighboring states and states as far away as Ohio and New York.
Everyone do your best to stay safe out there in the coming days.
(Featured image courtesy of NBC5 via Twitter).