A potentially historical flood event is well underway in portions of Southeast Texas. More than a thousand rescues took place overnight after CATASTROPHIC FLOODING has been stranding citizens in Houston and surrounding areas as the water rises.
Two people have died in the Houston area due to the torrential rain, according to the National Weather Service. Tropical Storm Harvey is responsible for all of the rain. It made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, on Friday night. Below is a look at the 11:30 am radar showing heavy rain continuing through the city of Houston and surrounding areas.
More than two feet of rain has fallen in the last two days. The city of Houston says to “shelter in place”. It is recommended for people to go to the highest level of their home as the water rises. If it reaches the top floor then DO NOT go to the attic, go on to the roof and wave sheets or mark the roof somehow so you can be rescued.
A fleet of helicopters, airboats and high-water vehicles confronted flooding so widespread that authorities had trouble pinpointing the worst areas. Rescuers got too many calls to respond to each one and had to prioritize life-and-death situations.
The 911 phone lines are filled up. Please do not call 911 in the Houston area unless you truly need to be rescued. A few inches of water inside of a home is not a life-threatening scenario. Below is a list of emergency phone numbers for help in rescue and relief efforts.
Rainfall of more than 4 inches per hour resulted in water levels higher than in any recent floods and higher than during Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, said Jeff Linder of flood control district in Harris County, which includes Houston.
The Coast Guard, which received more than 300 requests for help, deployed five helicopters and asked for additional aircraft from New Orleans.
The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said the government expected to conduct a “mass care mission” and predicted that the aftermath of the storm would require FEMA’s involvement for years.
“This disaster’s going to be a landmark event.”
The rescues unfolded a day after the hurricane settled over the Texas coastline. It was blamed for killing at least two people and injuring up to 14.
The biggest problem with this major flooding event is that it is far from over. Rounds of heavy rain will continue off and on for the next few days through at least Tuesday if not Wednesday.
You can see from the video above that Tropical Storm Harvey is not moving anywhere fast. There is a chance isolated areas will end up with more than 40 inches of total rainfall from this memorable storm. This will mean more rising water and thousands more people that will need to be rescued.
Besides the flooding rains, residents of southeast Texas will have to deal with prolonged power outages and strong winds gusts. Isolated tornadoes are possible as Harvey continues to sit and spin.
Associated Press writers Juan Lozano and Nomaan Merchant in Houston; Tammy Webber in Chicago; David Phillip in Dickinson, Texas; and Jamie Stengle, David Warren and Claudia Lauer and in Dallas contributed to this report.
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