A widespread disaster unfolded early Monday morning in the Houston area as torrential, prolonged rainfall came down at rates as high as four inches an hour, flooding waterways at rapid rates and leaving residents trapped in their own homes.
Rainfall totals of 10 to 20 inches have been measured in southeast Texas to the northwest of Houston as of 6:30 a.m. CDT, according to the Harris County Flood Control District. In some places, rainfall rates of 3 to 4 inches per hour were reported.
Residents were urged by authorities to stay home and off the roads as the flooding worsened, but in some areas, houses were being flooded as well. At one point Monday morning, emergency officials said as many as 60 water rescues were underway simultaneously as rescue workers plucked people from their homes. The National Weather Service in Houston said there were more than 70 subdivisions flooded in the metro area.
Before 5:30 a.m. CDT Monday morning, George Bush Intercontinental Airport had already reported 8.85 inches of rain since midnight, the wettest April day on record there. More than 150 flights into and out of the airport were canceled by 7 a.m. CDT Monday morning, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
The City of Houston activated its Emergency Operations Center Monday morning to assist with this life-threatening situation. Most schools in and around the Houston area will be closed Monday in an effort to keep children and their educators off the dangerous roads.