Hurricane Harvey: Houston Devastated as Catastrophic Flooding Paralyzes City; More Rain Expected
Hurricane Harvey continued to dump torrential rains on southeast Texas on Monday after dropping more than 20 inches over the region during the weekend. Houston has been hardest hit, as video and images have emerged of devastating flooding that has paralyzed much of the city, stranding motorists, prompting thousands of rescue operations, and forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate. On top of that, forecasters say the worst may not yet be over.
As of Monday, experts said approximately 31 inches of rain had fallen over the Houston metro area since Thursday evening. As Hurricane Harvey turns back toward the Gulf of Mexico – and strengthens slightly – before turning up toward North Texas, officials estimate it could drop as much as 50 inches of rain in the Lone Star State and parts of Louisiana.
On Monday, new evacuation orders were given for residents in the Fort Bend County, Texas area, southwest of downtown Houston, as fears the water levels in the Brazos River will reach record levels, according to Weather.com.
“A 59-foot river level threatens to overtop many of the levees in our area,” said Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert, reported Weather.com. “If you are in a mandatory evacuation zone, please leave. If you do not, you may be in danger and we may not be able to help.”
The storm has so far claimed the lives of at least five people and prompted almost 50,000 9-1-1 calls. Videos and images have been shared widely of some rescue attempts, including a news reporter who interrupted a live broadcast to flag down a rescue vehicle to point them toward a stranded truck driver, and a viral photo of nursing home residents sitting in waste deep water. That photo prompted the rescue of 15 elderly residents from the nursing home and officials say all of the seniors are safe now.
Harvey’s slow crawl over land will keep the system in the region for most of the week before the storm finally pushes out of the area and into Oklahoma on Thursday.