Just one day after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeastern Texas, historic flooding continued to wrack the city of Houston and surrounding areas.
According to CNN, authorities said they have rescued more than 1,000 people from the rising waters, with more than 24 inches of water falling on the Houston area in the past 24 hours as of 7:00am local time Sunday. The Washington Post reported the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Service 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.”
Authorities urged residents to shelter in their residences, or even climb onto the roofs of their homes if they were flooding.
“I know for a fact this is the worst flood Houston has ever experienced,” National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Blood told the Chronicle.
The National Hurricane Center’s Atlantic Operations division warned on Twitter “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” will continue to be a concern in coming days, while storm surge in coastal areas “will be slow to recede due to the slow motion of Harvey and a prolonged period of onshore flow.”
Per the Post, the worst flooding was near Houston Hobby International Airport on the southeast side of the city, where so much rain has fallen emergency services are overwhelmed and unable to effectively respond to some calls.
Worse, Harvey will remain nearly stationary over Houston throughout the day, dumping two to four inches of rain an hour, while predictions suggest it may move back over the Gulf of Mexico and make a second landfall on Wednesday.
This isn’t pretty—and, unfortunately, seems poised only to get worse in the coming days.
Update August 27th, 6:38pm: Per the AP, federal disaster declarations now indicate Harvey has affected at least 6.8 million people, or roughly one out of every four Texans.
Estimates now project 50 inches of rain, which “would be the highest amount ever recorded in Texas,” the AP reported. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner defended his decision to recommend residents shelter in place, saying it would be impossible to direct the city’s 2.3 million residents to safe evacuation routes in light of the massive flooding.
“If you think the situation right now is bad, and you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare,” Turner said.
In mid-afterrnoon, the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center tweeted, “The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before. Catastrophic flooding is now underway and expected to continue for days.”
Additionally, Gizmodo reader Michael Adams sent in photographs of what he said was the intersection of Highway 288 and MacGregor Way, located directly next to the Texas Medical Center, a large complex of hospitals and clinical facilities in Houston. It’s more or less totally flooded out—and the rain is projected to add to the floodwaters in coming days.