Heavy rains have caused widespread, massive flooding in southeastern Texas this week that has claimed the lives of at least seven people and left scores of homes flooded. Emergency crews worked around the clock to perform over 1200 high water rescues in the Houston area as some residents were forced to swim out of their homes. Over 123,000 homes were left without power in the Houston area Monday although crews had restored power to most by Tuesday afternoon.
As of Wednesday morning, there were scores of evacuations ongoing in Houston as local creeks continue to rise. A Coast Guard rescue crew recovered the body of an unidentified person Tuesday along the San Jacinto River. That person was reported missing after a boat capsized near I-10 in Harris County. Four other people on board that boat were rescued from the water at about 8pm. Meanwhile, officials were inspecting the integrity of two dams on the west side of Houston that they consider “extremely high risk”. If these dams break, the flood damage could exceed $60 billion and most likely claim many lives.
The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency for nine counties in his state due to the massive flooding. Rain was coming down at a rate of four inches per hour Monday which flooded numerous creeks at rapid rates to leave many residents trapped inside their homes and vehicles. In northwest Houston, rainfall totals of 10 to 20 inches were recorded as hundreds of emergency calls were made by local residents who needed help getting out of their homes.
This is the worst flooding Houston has seen since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. Hundreds of residents stayed in 13 emergency shelters Monday night that had been opened by the American Red Cross in Harris and other southeastern Texas counties. At least four of the Houston-area school districts canceled classes for the week due to flooding concerns and power outages. The bad news is that the NWS says that it will take until Friday before enough dry air comes in from the northwest to end the rounds of heavy rain falling over southeastern Texas.