After seeing how the northeast and southwest portions of the metroplex responded to a pummeling of rain on Tuesday, it's hard to imagine that anyone who was here during Harvey hasn't been shaken by how quickly Kingwood and Sugar Land respectively became swamped, with boat rescues, school closures, and even a disaster declaration from Fort Bend County in the aftermath of more than four inches of rain in a single night.
Unfortunately, there's a very high chance that this thing still isn't over.
As of Thursday morning the National Weather Service is predicting that more storms are on the way, with a forecast calling for "multiple rounds of heavy rainfall" from now through Saturday evening. The NWS also has issued a Flash Flood Watch from 1 p.m. today through Saturday evening, with the first round of storms potentially rolling in from this afternoon through Friday morning as a front moves into the area.
The warning extends across a swath of coastal counties from Refugio to a small portion of Jefferson, and the bulk of Harris County and Fort Bend. From there, we have the chance of another clutch of storms occurring any time from late Friday into Saturday evening. By the time these systems have moved on, it's possible that we will have received five to eight inches of rain across the greater Houston area, while isolated spots could get nine to 12 inches.
This could be bad. Sugar Land residents were already saying that the water rose up on Tuesday faster than it did almost two years ago during Harvey, as KTRK and other media outlets noted. If the NWS forecast proves correct, that will just be the beginning. The ground is already saturated through much of the Houston area, according to the Harris County Flood Control District. The Tuesday storm system already dropped enough rain to cause the bayous, creeks, and rivers to fill up. Most waterways crested and settled back into their banks by Wednesday, but the sheer amount of water moving through the area right now should give everyone pause, especially if they've flooded any time in the past few years. Where exactly the storms linger will determine whether the bayous, creeks and rivers that lace the region will slop over their banks or not in the next few days, Harris County Emergency Management has noted.
As if all of that wasn't enough, the storms that are expected to be moving in may also come with high winds, hail, and isolated tornados. Still, at the very least, the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs are not anywhere near their highest levels right now. Harris County Emergency Management has raised its readiness to level III, and has started up its Emergency Operations Center. The situation is being monitored closely by Harris County Flood Control, the San Jacinto River Authority, and other concerned government entities.
Houstonians know the drill at this point, but reminders never hurt. If you're in a flood-prone area, start thinking about putting your valuables up a little higher. If you come across a pool of water covering the road at an underpass, do not under any circumstances drive into it. And, as always, remember this is Houston weather we're talking about. We could be seeing some massive storms moving through over the next few days, just as the forecasters are predicting.
But if we wake up to blue skies and sunshine Friday and Saturday, try not to grumble about the valuables you'll have to put back in their right places and the wedding you moved indoors. As even those who were lucky enough not to take on water during the Tax Day Floods, the Memorial Day Floods, or Hurricane Harvey should know by now, this stuff is devastating when the predictions do turn out to be true, so we'll be sure to celebrate a little if we get lucky enough to dodge this one.