Houston's in the midst of never-before-seen flooding, with rain totals near 30 inches in some places. The levels surpassed those of the city's previous benchmark event, Tropical Storm Allison, in half the amount of time. And it's not over—rains are expected to continue, albeit at more manageable rates, until late Tuesday or early Wednesday when the storm moves into Louisiana.
By Sunday night, more than 1,500 people had taken shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center, with more arriving by the busload. Nearby cities are also in the process of sheltering evacuees—San Antonio is housing 1,000, and Dallas is readying a 5,000-bed shelter inside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which is expected to open Tuesday. Officials say they expect to need shelter for 30,000 people as the storm plays out.
Putting in some time this evening at the medical station in the hurricane shelter set up in George R Brown convention center. A bit of a madhouse but several of us physicians triaging and managing patients as best we can with some needing to be sent out. Some folks coming from truly flooded out places and completely soaked with multiple medical conditions. #hurricaneharvey #houston #georgerbrown #disasterresponse
Although the Texas Medical Center has remained mostly operational—with the exception of Ben Taub Hospital, which has the only county-run Level 1 Trauma Center and needed to be evacuated—the hospitals are surrounded by water, making it hard for people who need medical help to access it.
Early this morning, the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from the Barker and Addicks Reservoirs to prevent more catastrophic flooding; many in the area evacuated, and the controlled release has already resulted in more streets and homes flooding in West Houston.
Houstonians have shown their generous spirit by coming to the aid of their neighbors. Many have used their boats to help with rescue efforts, and many have used social media to help pinpoint those in need of rescue.
For those who are safe and dry at home but want to help, consider giving to United Way's Relief Fund—you can also text UWFLOOD to 41444. The City of Houston has also established a relief fund. Please, stay safe and stay off the roads. We'll follow up with more ways to help.