Houston endures more rain, chaos
HOUSTON — Floodwaters reached the rooflines of single-story homes Monday and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues.
The nation’s fourth-largest city was still mostly paralyzed by one of the largest downpours in U.S. history. And there was no relief in sight from the storm that spun into Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, then parked over the Gulf Coast. With nearly 2 more feet of rain expected on top of the 30-plus inches in some places, authorities worried that the worst might be yet to come.
Harvey has been blamed for at least three confirmed deaths.
The disaster unfolded on an epic scale in one of America’s most sprawling metropolitan centers. The Houston metro area covers about 10,000 square miles, an area slightly bigger than New Jersey. It’s crisscrossed by about
1,700 miles of channels, creeks and bayous that drain into the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles to the southeast from downtown.
The storm is generating an amount of rain that would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years, said Edmond Russo, a deputy district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, which was concerned that floodwater would spill around a pair of
70-year-old reservoir dams that protect downtown Houston.
Rescuers continued plucking people from the floodwaters — more than 3,000 times by Monday evening, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
Forecasters expect the system to stay over water with 45 mph winds for 36 hours and then head back inland east of Houston sometime Wednesday. The system will then head north and lose its tropical strength.
Before then, up to 20 more inches of rain could fall, National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said Monday.
That means the flooding will get worse in the days ahead and the floodwaters will be slow to recede once Harvey finally moves on, the weather service said.
MASS EVACUATION: Volunteers use their boat to help evacuate residents as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday in Spring, Texas.