The United States National Weather Service (NWS) has issued dire warnings regarding massive flooding in the Texas city of Houston and surrounding regions as a continuous downpour caused by a trapped tropical storm has created never-before-seen flooding, as well as an almost constant tornado watch.
Tweeting on Sunday that: "This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced," the US weather authority has acknowledged the appalling scope of the ongoing catastrophe.
— NWS (@NWS) August 27, 2017
City officials and emergency first-responders — including the US Coast Guard — have issued demands that all residents in the region shelter in place, with no travel outside of what is absolutely necessary, as almost every major thoroughfare and highway in the region is under water, some at levels approaching twenty feet deep.
— U.S. Coast Guard (@uscoastguard) August 27, 2017
Urgent requests for capable citizens with flat-bottom boats and other watercraft to assist in the rescue of those trapped by continuous — and increasing — floods are ongoing, as the quickly rising waters have closed airports, shut down all traffic and brought to a halt any sense of ordinary daily life over hundreds of square miles of southwest Texas inhabited by some 7 million people.
Some waterways have been recorded at 10-14 feet above historic levels, and more rain is on the way as forecasts predict — at a minimum — continuous downpours over the next three days.
NWS reported on Sunday morning some 24 inches of rain had fallen in the region in the previous 24 hours, cascading the many local rivers and bayous to record-smashing heights, recording as much as 7 inches of rain in a single hour in some areas.
— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) August 27, 2017
Category 4 Hurricane Harvey — now Tropical Storm Harvey — brought 130 mph winds and heavy rain to the Texas coast on Friday night, and is the most most powerful hurricane to strike in fifty years.
Due to an unusual weather pattern preventing the storm from moving forward or dissipating over land — as storms of this nature would ordinarily do — the system has stalled in place over Houston and its greater metropolitan area, and some forecasts are predicting upwards of 50 inches of rainfall over the next three days in some areas.