On Sunday morning, the National Weather Service tweeted an ominous warning about the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey. According to the federal weather agency, the latest update on Hurricane Harvey and the floods is that it was an "unprecedented" storm, and that the impact and damage from the storm remains "unknown" and beyond anything previously experienced in the region.
Reports on Sunday claimed that five people had died as a result of the storm, with more than a dozen others suffering injuries during the storm's initial surge. Additionally, the forecast calls for rain to continue for days, with 15 to 25 inches of additional rainfall expected through Friday over the middle and upper Texas coast, which includes the largely populated areas of Houston and Galveston, and potentially up to 50 inches of rain in isolated areas, according to the National Weather Service.
In an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, described Harvey as "catastrophic."
Everything that we had hoped wouldn't happen but was forecasted is happening. We have a catastrophic, life-threatening flood event taking place over southeastern Texas, including the Houston metropolitan area. It’s bad now, and it's getting worse.
The National Weather Service took to Twitter on Sunday morning to warn people both about the outrageous scope of the storm, and to stay safe in the aftermath.
This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced. Follow orders from officials to ensure safety.
Emergency services remain stretched in the Houston area. A Houston-area hospital's power supply was interrupted by the flooding, and it was forced to evacuate patients. City officials in Houston have asked people to only call 911 if they are in "imminent danger," tweeting on Sunday morning that "911 services are at capacity."
Overnight, more than 1,000 high-water rescues had taken place, and the public was being urged to lend their boats to first responders, so they could accomplish more.
The Associated Press reported on Sunday afternoon that Houston's downtown convention center is being used to shelter those displaced from their homes. As of 2:20 p.m. local time, hundreds of people had arrived at the George R. Brown Convention Center seeking shelter. Red Cross volunteers were prepared to intake 1,000 people, and said they could expand to service more if needed.
The most important thing being stressed is that this is only the beginning of this storm. Harvey is expected to drop dozens more inches of rain on coastal Texas towns. Damaging, high-speed winds will continue in some areas, and a few tornadoes are possible on Sunday near the middle and upper Texas coast into southwest Louisiana, according to the NWS advisory for the region.
If it is safe, people are being urged to shelter in place and not attempt to travel, especially on flooded roadways. As more reports come in, authorities will be able to determine the full "catastrophic" affect of this terrifying storm.