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article imageCatastrophic and life-threatening flooding in Houston

By Karen Graham     Aug 27, 2017 in Environment
After making landfall on Friday night as a powerful Category 4 storm, Hurricane Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm that has created a disaster of epic proportions in southeast Texas.
The National Hurricane Center on Sunday reported Harvey is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 15 to 25 inches through Friday over the middle and upper Texas coast, including the Houston/Galveston metropolitan area. Isolated storm totals may reach 50 inches in this region.
“We’re really dealing with a disaster that’s just now beginning in terms of rainfall and flooding,” Patrick Burke, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service, tells The Verge. The amount of rain that has already fallen and the anticipated additional amounts to come in the next few days is something that weather forecasters has never before had to deal with.
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“We’ve actually never forecast rain amounts this high,” Burke says. “It has the potential to break the record for any hurricane in Texas. We don’t know how high the water is going to get.”
“Catastrophic flooding in the Houston metropolitan area is expected to worsen and could become historic in association with Harvey, with potentially significant flooding also expected in other saturated areas of southeast TX,” according to a statement by the National Weather Service.
Over 1,000 rescues made and the numbers will rise
This morning, thousands of homes are under water in the Houston-metropolitan area, bayous that normally meander through the city have been turned into raging rivers - in some places covering city blocks in fast-moving water over 25-feet deep.
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The death toll from Harvey has now risen to five, according to the National Weather Service. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, appearing on Fox News Sunday morning, said: "We're measuring rain these days not in inches but in feet."
The Houston Chronicle actually was able to put out the Sunday paper this morning, although many of the editorial staff are working from home or other places around the city. A staff member told CNN News today the life-threatening situation is of greater importance than where a reporter happens to be because the public needs to know what's happening.
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Houston Chronicle
Three Texas prisons are also being evacuated, according to the Chronicle. The evacuations began on Saturday and 4,500 inmates from the Ramsey, Terrell and Stringfellow Units in Rosharon were emptied Saturday as the Brazos River continued to rise near the Brazoria County facilities.
Harvey was underestimated as flood of historic proportions
The disaster unfolding in southeast Texas will not be going away anytime in the near future. Officials are already predicting some areas of the state will be uninhabitable for weeks and even months to come. The expected conditions are going to impact on the economy of the state and nation.
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But perhaps even more worrisome is the damage being done to the state's infrastructure. Building walls are buckling, roads and bridges will need repairs and the monetary loss of homes and properties will be in the billions of dollars. While no one is mentioning the "elephant in the room," this is extreme weather, possibly at its worst.
The bottom line? Shelter in place and stay off the roads. This storm and the flooding going on is very serious. The United States has never seen anything like what is being experienced today.
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