Deadly Flooding Sweeps Houston Area
At least three people are dead and America’s fifth-largest metropolitan area was at a standstill for much of Tuesday due to historic flooding in Houston, Texas on Monday night.
Over 11 inches of rain was reported on the city’s west side, particularly in far western Harris County and in parts of Fort Bend County, including the Houston suburb of Sugarland, where extensive flooding was reported. Most of the rain fell in a 2-3 hour span, triggering the widespread flash flooding. A stationary front stalled out on top of Houston and coastal southeast Texas on Monday night, leading to thunderstorms “training”, or sitting over the same areas for several hours, dumping torrential downpours on the same areas for hours on end.
An estimated (and astonishing) 162 billion gallons of water poured onto Harris County (which includes Houston) thanks to an average of 5.3″ of rain county-wide. The top overnight official rain total was measured near Richmond, Texas, where 11.35″ of rain was recorded.
Houston city schools were closed and the city’s public transportation system all but came to a stop – and it even forced Houston Rockets superstar Dwight Howard, fresh off leading his team to a victory in the NBA playoffs, to stay in Houston’s Toyota Center well after the game due to flooding in his neighborhood.
The floods forced Monday night’s floods brought back memories of Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, when nearly two feet of rain fell in 10 hours on parts of the Houston metro area. Houston’s National Weather Service (NWS) office issued a Flash Flood Emergency for the city for the first time since Hurricane Ike made landfall in September 2008.
The forecast holds better news for Houston, however, as a general drying trend looks likely across hard-hit Texas, although isolated afternoon showers and storms could still develop in the area. The best chance for showers and storms could come on Wednesday night with an approaching cold front.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi