Hurricane Harvey Stalled, Dumping Up to 50″ of Rain on Texas, Flooding of Biblical Proportions

Boxed in by two high pressure systems to the north, Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, is stalled over southeast Texas. Weather forecasters fear it will be there for several more days and cause increasingly severe flooding. Two feet, yes, that’s feet, of rain have already fallen in some parts of southeast Texas, at times six inches in just one hour. As of Sunday morning, Harvey may have already dropped more rain than Hurricane Allison did when it inundated Texas in 2001. Again, keep in mind that Harvey is not finished. Some locations may ultimately receive a total of 50 inches of rain.

The City of Houston has been hit hard by flooding. During just one three-hour period last night, first responders there rescued over 250 people who were stranded in cars amid the rapidly rising floodwaters. Literally thousands of emergency calls have come in to the city’s 911 system. Over a thousand water rescues have already been made. A spokesman for the Harris County sheriff’s office explained that it’s currently very difficult to determine which areas of the city are in the greatest danger and that they’re doing their best to prioritize aid, adding, “It’s heartbreaking.”

People whose homes are flooding have been encouraged to take to the rooftop (not the attic) and wave a towel or sheet so rescuers have a better chance of seeing them. Houstonians are also being advised to stay off roadways: “turn around, don’t drown.”

Appearing on television Sunday morning, FEMA director Brock Long remarked,”FEMA is going to be there for years,” adding, “This disaster is going to be a landmark event.” And indeed, it will be some days yet before we have a fuller picture of just how much damage this storm has done.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, there’s a real possibility that Harvey will return to the Gulf of Mexico sometime in the middle of the week, gain strength, and then hit the Houston area again. Stay tuned, unfortunately.