Drone Footage Shows Houston Texas Flooding in Hurricane Harvey Aftermath
Several deaths have been reported in the floodwaters, but the exact number is unclear. A spokeswoman with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences tells us that their are atleast six deaths suspected of being related to the storm.
Around midday Monday Texas Governor Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard to support communities coping with the flooding. Thousands of guard members were already deployed in the effort. The number now stands at approx 12,000. Gates to Houston’s reservoirs were opened as emergency crews and residents scramble to deal with the intense rains brought by Harvey, which became a tropical storm after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane late Friday. Catastrophic floods are expected to continue.
Houston set a new daily rainfall record Sunday, with 16.07 inches reported at the city’s international airport, the National Weather Service says. On Saturday and Sunday, more than 2 feet of rain (24.44 inches) fell. The National Hurricane Center says another 15 to 25 inches of accumulation are expected across the upper Texas coast which would lead to totals in some areas of 50 inches from just this storm. That’s the average annual rainfall in the area.
The U.S. Coast Guard says it is “conducting urban search and rescue in the city of Houston,” acting alongside local police, fire and other agencies.
“Officials are preparing to evacuate one of the nation’s busiest trauma centers as flooding from Harvey threatened to compromise the hospital’s supply of medicine and food,” Ben Taub Hospital has 350 patients to relocate, hopefully within one day, as floodwater and sewage have infiltrated the building.
Farther inland, officials are warning of flooding from rivers that are overwhelmed from massive rainfall. “The Colorado River at La Grange is expected to rise as high as 53 feet later this morning — 27 feet above flood stage,” station KUTV is reporting.
Meanwhile, President Trump has declared an emergency disaster in neighboring Louisiana, where the southwest portion of the state is bracing for another 15-25 inches of rain. The declaration, effective Aug. 27, authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA – to bolster the response efforts of local authorities.
“Protecting the lives of our people is our highest priority,” Trump said at a press conference Monday afternoon. “Every asset at my command is at the disposal of local officials.”
FEMA has already deployed more than 1,800 staff members and says it has more than 1 million meals to help those affected by the storm. Flooded portions of Houston and other parts of Texas will see more heavy rainfall on Monday, as the National Weather Service issued new flash flood warnings for a wide area from Galveston inland to College Station.
Here’s how station Houston Public Media describes the scene:
“On Sunday, incessant rain covered much of Houston in turbid, gray-green water and turned streets into rivers navigable only by boat. In a rescue effort that recalled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, helicopters landed near flooded freeways, airboats buzzed across submerged neighborhoods and high-water vehicles plowed through water-logged intersections. Some people managed with kayaks or canoes or swam.
“Volunteers joined emergency teams in pulling people from their homes or from the water. The flooding was so widespread that authorities had trouble pinpointing the worst areas. They urged people to get on top of their houses to avoid becoming trapped in attics and to wave sheets or towels to draw attention to their location.”
With more rain to come, the ongoing storm has already capped off a three-month period in which Houston has received nearly a year’s worth of rain, the National Weather Service says. The average yearly rainfall is just under 50 inches; Houston’s airport has recorded more than 46 inches.
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