Even though Hurricane Harvey has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, it’s still an extremely dangerous storm that will bring catastrophic damage to Southeastern Texas.
The storm made landfall as a category 4 storm late Friday night, meaning its maximum sustained winds were at least 130 mph. The winds ravaged the immediate coastline and structures up and down the shore and inland were leveled or severely damaged. But the real danger of Harvey is the rain because the storm is expected to hardly move for the next several days.
In fact, according to the National Weather Service office in the Houston-area, the Houston-area has seen 14-28 inches of rain between 6 am EST Saturday and 6 am EST Sunday. The storm is producing rainfall rates of 4-6 inches in the most intense thunderstorms, causing area creeks, rivers and bayous to shatter previous flood levels.
All that floodwater is having devastating effects on the population. People in the path of the storm’s worst were urged to evacuate ahead of landfall, but many people remained in place.
Over 1000 high water rescues have been performed and in some places emergency crews cannot reach the worst hit areas. 5 fatalities have been reported. Some people are using attics and the second floor to escape the rising flood waters.
Five fatalities so far. Heartbreaking.
Indeed, Houston police chief Art Acevedo confirmed via Twitter early Sunday morning that many people are trapped in their houses. He urged his residents to plan ahead should they have to escape to an attic.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday morning that staying in your house, despite flood waters, is a safe option:
Some of the stories about storm-related deaths are devastating. According to KTRK-TV, one person was found floating in water by a neighbor checking the floodwaters around her home, while a woman drowned late Saturday night after she drove her vehicle into high water, according to KPRC-TV.
Houston City officials are also urging residents to only use 911 if life is in immediate danger because their system is at capacity.