Houston and other parts of Texas have been hit by the worst flooding since Tropical Storm Alison in 2001. While not a record for Houston, this storm none the less has already caused wide spread devastation across all of Houston, and most of Harris country, Texas. Thousands of residents have already had to leave their homes, and hundreds more remain trapped in flooded homes. Rescue crews were unable to rescue trapped residents using their high water rescue vehicles, so first responders have had to resort to using boats to reach trapped residents. Over one foot of rain has plummeted down on the nations fourth largest city. Some areas had received as much as 16 inches of rain as of late Monday morning, with more rain due today on Tuesday.
It is not just Harris County and Houston which have flooded, in fact flash flood warnings were issued via cell phone and the news in about two dozen Texas counties across in the southern part of Texas, including the capital of Texas, Austin. The cause of the massive rainfall is due to a nearly stationary area of ultra low pressure, which then stalled over the western United states. This then allowed a great deal of moisture to be in effect sucked up from the Gulf of Mexico, flowing right into Texas over the last few days. This excess moisture had no where to go but down via torrential rain. While Texas has been in a state of drought for the last many years, I highly doubt that this is the answer to the drought that Texans have been looking for.
This storm, while not a Hurricane or tropical storm has none the less caused just as much if not more damage than these types of named storms. The damage already caused by this storm is only surpassed by 2001’s tropical storm Alison, which left 41 people dead in Harris county alone, and over 5 billion in property damage. Estimates have not yet come in as far as property damage goes for this storm, but already at least 5 people have perished, mostly due to ignoring driving bans, with nearly all of the deceased having died in their vehicles. Experts however are predicting at least 1 billion dollars in Damages.
At least 240 billion gallons of of rain has fallen in just the Houston area alone. This estimate is only going to climb since rain and thunderstorms are expected into late Tuesday as well, according to officials at the National Weather Service. Local video taken by area residents and uploaded to YouTube shows horrific scenes of devastation caused by this flooding. Houston is ranked as one of the worst cities as far as flooding goes, mostly due to be below sea level, and the poor quality of the areas soil which does not fare well with massive amounts of rain, due to drainage issues with this type of soil.
Hopefully comes Wednesday the area may start seeing flood waters recede. Only until the waters begin to recede can area residents begin the massive clean up effort needed to restore the city back to any sense of normalcy. Flood restoration crews from around the country are mobilizing to come to Harris county and Houston in order to assist with the clean up and rebuilding that will be needed. Until then area residents are encouraged to remain indoors, and not to attempt any travel.