As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to wreak havoc across Southeast Texas, thousands of homes and businesses find themselves completely submerged underwater, leaving many of their owners to tread through waist-deep water in search of food and shelter. One of the areas hit hardest by the harsh weather is Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States. Houston has already received approximately 25 inches of rain, and that number will only grow as the storm continues throughout the next few days.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Houston and its surrounding areas have received over 20 inches of rain since Hurricane Harvey, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, made landfall late Friday evening. As of 4 p.m. local time Sunday afternoon, parts of the southeast Houston metro area had received more than 25 inches of rain. Some areas northeast of Houston had even received approximately 27 inches of rain in just the past 48 hours.
But what is more concerning about this catastrophic amount of rainfall, which the National Weather Service has called "unprecedented," is that there is still so much more to come. Harvey is expected to remain in the area until Thursday, meaning that Houston still has days of pounding rain left to endure. The NWS estimates that the city could ultimately receive a total of 50 inches of rain by the time the storm subsides.
According to the NWS, this amount of rainfall could cause "catastrophic and life-threatening flooding." While the number of deaths caused by the storm have not yet been confirmed, as many as five fatalities have already been reported. Additionally, there have been more than 1,000 calls for rescues in the Houston area, and many people have been forced to take refuge on their rooftops to escape flooding.
To help with rescue, relief, and recovery efforts, more than 3,000 national and state guard troops have been deployed across the region, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced in a press conference Sunday. He also asked for 12 more local counties to be added to President Trump's Presidential Disaster Declaration, which will allow more people to apply for government assistance.
As the storm continues, locals are encouraged to take shelter and avoid traveling on flooded roads, even if they may think it is safe. Given that so far Texas has only seen the beginning of Tropical Storm Harvey, and still has more than 20 inches of rainfall to come, it will be more important than ever for locals to heed these warnings, and for the government to offer as much assistance as possible.