An overnight stormhit the Houston area on Friday,and the flood-prone area experienced very heavy rainfall. Forecasters have said that the storms will let up soon which will hopefully also cause the high waters to recede.
The golf-ball sized hail that pelted Houston during the storm flooded its streets, which led to multiple high-water rescues across the region. There was also a flood warning in effect right through Friday mid-morning. In various areas of Mississippi and a Louisiana, weather forecasters posted warnings about the possibility of flash floods as thestorm had started to head towards the east.
Flood Waters Leave Motorists Stranded
The Houston area has been affected by repeated flooding over the past few years. Rapid development in and around Houston has reduced the wetlands which is the primary cause of thisproblem . The inadequate drainage system is unable to handle excessive water during heavy rains, and this has compounded the issue.
On Thursday night, many motorists found themselves stranded due to the flooding and one person was successfully extricated from his vehicle that had been submerged in the flood waters. At about 1 am on Friday, the Houston fire Department tweeted that local first-responders had rescued a person from a vehicle that had turned turtle in a flooded ditch; the occupant of the car had been trapped alive in it said the officials.
The Associated Press reported that as per the National Weather Service, some areas in and around Houston received almost 3 inches of rain per hour late on Thursday evening. The weather service also said that the Barker Dam area in the vicinity of Houston received approximately 6 inches of rain on Thursday evening. Some Houston Astros’ fans at the Thursday Night game held at Minute Maid Park, were drenched to the skin as the roof began to leak even though the dome was up.
Large Number Of Water-Related Calls
Fortunately, there were no reports of death early Friday. Samuel Peña, the Fire Chief stated in a video that was posted to social media by the department, that the water was all over the roads. He also said that by late Thursday, they had received more than 75 water-related calls.
Peña said that since the water has entered many vehicles and disabled them, motorists are unable self-evacuate. The rains will continue he said,and the ground everywhere is completely saturated which makes it the ideal condition for flash floods.
Power Outages Affect Thousands
Early Friday, CenterPoint Energy, the utility company reported on its official website that approximately 74,000 customers were now without any power. Art Acevedo, who is Houston’s Police Chief said there was high water in some roads in the areas and these have now been closed.
Flash Floods Will Continue Unabated
KPRC the NBC affiliate reported that the Red Cross has also opened several shelters. Although it seemed like the intensity of the storm is receding, the city of Houston said that the flash floods and widespread floods would continue. According to the local weather service, flash flood watches stretched right from southern Texas along the Gulf Coast into the central Mississippi area early on Friday.
They had warned that the already saturated areas would experience “dangerous” heavy rains. The service has also predicted a multi-day event which was the most concerning. This weather turbulence showed up in east & southeast Texas and spread into various parts of Louisiana as well as Mississippi.
In recent years flash floods and similar conditions have become a norm in Houston,and the intermittent storms and heavy rainfall have made life extremely difficult for the local populace.