As severe weather continues across the State of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in the following Texas Counties today: Austin, Bastrop, Fort Bend, Colorado, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton Counties. Additional counties may be added as the situation develops.
More than 40 districts and universities canceled school on Monday as heavy rain and flooding inundated parts of Harris County and threatened nearby areas. Tuesday is expected to be a time for cleanup and recovery.
The American Red Cross has opened additional shelters to aid those impacted by severe rain and flooding throughout the Greater Houston area. Several Houston ISD schools are also acting as shelters.
At least five people are dead, hundreds are homeless, thousands have been rescued. Some areas got well over a foot of rain in the , where Houston Public Media reporters reporters Al Ortiz and Gail Delaughter were wading into the waters to update listeners Monday morning.
“Despite the fact there wasn’t any rain last night, some local creeks and bayous are continuing to rise, so for many people the threat of flooding still exists,” Delaughter said. “Some of the particular areas of concern right now are the creeks in northwest Harris county like Spring Creek and Little Cypress Creek.”
It’s been all hands on deck at the Houston Chronicle as well, where St. John Barned-Smith is a reporter. He says the flooding resembles last year’s Memorial Day floods.
“It’s deja vu all over again, it was incredible,” Barned-Smith says. “When I was going through Midtown and Montrose earlier in the day, you know, that’s areas that I don’t usually see flood too badly, and the streets were just littered with cars that had been stalled out because they had been caught in fast moving water.”
Some neighborhoods that had just recovered from last year’s deluge suffered damage, as well.
“Down in Meyerland, that area was really badly hit last year,” Barned-Smith says. “There were people who just had finished rebuilding and renovating after their homes were flooded with three or four feet of water last year, and now they have to do it all over again. I mean, it’s awful.”
An enormous amount of rain has fallen in the area, with forecasts saying there’s likely more to come through Wednesday.
“I saw one figure from the Harris County Flood Control District yesterday which said we got something like 240 billion gallons of rain. I don’t really know how you quantify or compute that but that’s just a tremendous amount of water,” Barned-Smith says.
And while the flooding basically brought life in the Bayou City and surrounding areas to a halt yesterday, the worst seems to be over.
“Yesterday I had the easiest time driving around on the highways that I’ve ever had because they were so clear, everywhere I went there were just tons of closed and shuttered stores,” Smith says. “Today things seem to be sort of back to normal, but yesterday certainly, there was a lot of the city that was shut down.”
This post was prepared for the web by Alexandra Hart.