In Houston, rescue crews are working round the clock against the rising floodwaters to pull hundreds of stranded residents from their homes and cars after Hurricane Harvey slammed the area with winds of 130 miles per hour.
And while President Donald Trump on Sunday bragged on Twitter that everything is going well, Harvey continued to unleash record levels of rain on Houston, causing “catastrophic” flooding in the city and in surrounding Harris County. At least one storm-related death in Houston was reported on Sunday, after a woman was found dead by her water-deluged car.
Over 24 hours, the greater Houston and Galveston area received 24.1 inches of rain. The National Weather Service warned of “additional catastrophic, unprecedented and life threatening flooding” into the next week, and placed flash-flood emergencies for all of Southeast Texas.
As the much-anticipated storm pummeled the country’s fourth-largest city — overwhelming the 911 system and sending some residents, against the advice of officials, into their attics to flee floodwaters — many asked the question: Should Houston have been evacuated? If so, why wasn’t it?
At least one official thought it should have been.
— Nomaan Merchant (@NomaanMerchant) August 25, 2017
As The Washington Post’s Greg Porter and Jason Samenow report, the situation is only getting worse:
The Weather Service office in Houston reported 24.1 inches of rain in 24 hours as of 7 a.m. Sunday morning and said this August had become the wettest month in recorded history due to the storm.
It added the “majority” of rivers and bayous around Houston were at record levels and some were exceeding previous records by 10 feet.
“Volume-wise, this has likely reached the rainfall that fell during Allison in June 2001, and it continues to rain,” said the Weather Service office in College Park, Md., responsible for rainfall forecasts.
The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center is calling for an additional 15-25 inches of rain over the middle and upper Texas coast, including the Houston area, during the next several days, with isolated amounts possibly reaching 40 inches.
“This disaster’s going to be a landmark event,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “This is a storm that the United States has not seen yet.”
The dire reports didn’t stop President Trump from tweeting Sunday morning that the flood-response efforts were “going well!”
Wow – Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017