The Relentless Storm Regaining Strength Again From Warm Waters of Gulf

The City of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is in a state of desperate paralysis as flood waters continue to rise from torrential rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey. Once a Category Four Hurricane prior to landfall down the Texas coast at Rockport on Friday night, has brought about as much as 39 inches to areas in Southeastern Texas.

So far, there have been 2,000 rescues attempted. Earlier in the day, the rain relented as the storm’s rain bands rotated to the east and Beaumont, which had already received over 18 inches of rain. Rain has moved into Louisiana, where it has gone as Far East as New Orleans. The Crescent City, which has also seen its fair share of rain the past two summers, has received 4 to 6 inches from Harvey’s outer bands.

Other areas in South Central Louisiana could receive between 5 to 15 inches. Southeastern Louisiana including New Orleans could receive between 5 to 10 inches before the storm finally heads out. Even areas in Arkansas could receive a foot of rain from this system, which has re-energized and strengthened to have maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, and a minimum central pressure of 997 millibars, or 29.44 inches of Hg.

Meanwhile, back in Texas, Dayton, a town in Liberty County, Texas, has received 39.72 inches of rain. According to Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University, this amount represents the fourth highest rainfall ever from a tropical cyclone in Texas. The Houston metropolitan area receives about 42 inches of rain per year. During Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, there was about 35 inches of rain. Forecasts are calling for Harvey to bring another 10 to 15 inches over the next day or two to these same waterlogged areas.

Since the storm made landfall on Friday, the Brazos River has risen some 35 feet in the area of Sugarland, Texas, and may reach 59 feet there later this week according to CNN. In addition, much of Southeastern Texas, is also still battling with tornadoes. So far, 12 have been confirmed, but there have been at least 60 tornado warnings since the storm made landfall. Tornado Watches have shifted eastward to Beaumont and the Sabine Pass area of Texas into Southern Louisiana.

Harvey continues to be a record breaker by remaining a tropical storm some 72 hours after landfall. According to Klotzbach, which is the longest on record that a Texas landfalling hurricane has remained a named storm. FEMA director Brock Long asked for all hands on deck this morning as he urged all three levels of government: federal, state, and local as well as ordinary citizens to pitch in. Volunteers with boats have been urged by Houston Police to come help.

The Cajun Navy, which was created in response to flooding events in Louisiana, have also stepped forward to assist. As of 7:00 PM EDT this evening, there has been a total of 7 deaths so far from the storms. However, there are only about 5,500 people in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Another 1,000 people have found shelter in nearby Friendswood. People are getting desperate in trying to get help. Volunteers with boats have reported being shot at or being rushed at by people that they are unable to rescue.

The Houston School District has cancelled classes for some 215,000 children, and schools aren’t expected to reopen until at least September 5th. Sporting events such as this coming weekend’s college football game between BYU and LSU at Houston’s NRG stadium is going to be moved to another venue. One of the possibilities is moving the game to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, but that area is also beginning to feel the affects of rainfall from Harvey. The exhibition game between the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys scheduled for this Thursday is also in doubt with the Texans practicing in Frisco, Texas.

Another 15 to 20 inches is expected to fall in Houston over the next few days so we could end up seeing a record shattering 50 inches of rainfall from this storm when it is done. The highest rainfall total from a Texas tropical storm or hurricane according to Klotzbach was Amelia in 1978. Hurricane Mitch, which had been a Category Five Hurricane at one point in October 1998, reportedly dumped 75 inches over Honduras and Nicaragua putting portions of those two countries back 50 years according to experts at the time.