At least 178 people rescued in Texas as rivers flood to Hurricane Harvey levels, with more rain forecasted | CNN (2024)


At least 224 people have been rescued from homes and vehicles in Harris County, Texas, an official said Saturday night, with more rain expected over the weekend in the wake of strong storms and downpours that damaged homes and triggered evacuations.

No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told CNN, adding 153 pets have also been rescued during a deluge that has left livestock stranded.

“It’s been really sad to see the impact of people’s livelihoods, homes, infrastructure as well as just the public infrastructure,” Hidalgo told CNN Saturday.

“We’re really asking folks to give it a minute before they go back home.”

Most of the weekend rain will fall over western and central Texas, but a chance of heavier rain returns for the greater Houston area on Sunday. The heaviest downpours in central Texas will occur upstream of the flooding in Houston – which is located in Harris, potentially exacerbating flooding in a region where 12 river gauges have reached major flood stage.

This week’s storms were just the latest in a series of brutal weather events that have pounded the state since early April. Dozens of tornadoes have hit from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, some areas of the state have been pounded with softball-sized hail and months of rain has fallen in East Texas in intense spurts, causing rivers to rise to levels not seen since the devastating floods of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

The Storm Prediction Center issued a tornado watch for southwestern Texas – including San Angelo and Del Rio – until 10 p.m. local time. Severe thunderstorms capable of producing a few tornadoes, hail as large as grapefruit and damaging winds up to 70 mph are possible across the region this afternoon and evening, according to the center.

“The risk for a strong tornado may maximize during the late afternoon to early evening timeframe,” the center warned.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect from southeastern New Mexico into northwestern Texas until 10 p.m. local time. It includes Abilene and Midland in Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The forecast comes as some communities north of Houston picked up nearly two months’ worth of rain Thursday. This rainfall plunged roadways underwater and forced rivers to overflow, leading to evacuations and water rescues.

At least 178 people rescued in Texas as rivers flood to Hurricane Harvey levels, with more rain forecasted | CNN (1)

The bridge over Lake Houston, along West Lake Houston Parkway from Kingwood to Atascocita, was closed due to high water on Saturday in Kingwood, Texas.

Here’s what’s happened in South Texas Friday evening:

San Jacinto County, 60 miles north of Houston: About 100-200 homes are affected by floodwaters and mandatory evacuations are in effect. The event is “85% worse than Hurricane Harvey,” Emmitt Eldridge, the county’s emergency management coordinator, told CNN. Eldridge said since they are downstream from Dallas along the Trinity River, “we are expecting to see a lot more water” because of additional rainfall. “Anything they deal with, we deal with,” he added. According to Eldridge, there have been at least 58 water rescues in the county so far. More rain is expected in the area next week.

Walker County, about 70 miles northwest of Houston: Authorities are calling the floods historic there as well. “This has been a historic flood for Walker County. We have flooded more from this event than we did during Hurricane Harvey,” Sherri Pegoda, Walker County’s deputy emergency management coordinator, told CNN. According to Pegoda, two communities are underwater along the Trinity River and are only accessible via high-water vehicles. “Almost all roads in Walker County were completely submerged Monday night and into Tuesday,” Pegoda said. “We still have approximately 43 roads that are flooded with several major washouts and a couple of bridges that have been compromised.” At least 42 high-water rescues have been performed in the county since April 28, she added.

Polk County, about 80 miles northeast of Houston: A mandatory evacuation order remains in place for low-lying unincorporated areas as severe weather is expected to impact the area Sunday, the Polk County Office of Emergency Management said in aFacebook post. Areas under evacuation orders are along the Trinity River and below the Lake Livingston Dam. “Our area may receive up to 1 to 3 inches of rainfall with isolated amounts of up to 4 to 8 inches possible,” the post said. The county is under a flood watch until 7 p.m. Sunday, the post said.

Roughly 700 homes have been flooded, according to emergency management officials, who warned additional rainfall could keep flood levels on the rise in the coming days. A total of 1,000 homes are in a mandatory evacuation zone in the county, Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy told CNN. A flood warning remained in effect Friday for the county. The judge said they were concerned and keeping an eye on what was happening north of the county with the flooding because it would impact the area. “Due to continuous rainfall across East Texas and rising levels in creeks and rivers, flood levels may increase. Please remain aware of changing flood levels along the Trinity River and ALL low-lying levels. If you wish to evacuate, please do so now!,” the emergency management office recently said in a Facebook post.

Harris County, which also includes several northern Houston suburbs: Mandatory evacuations have been in place since Thursday for residents on the east side of the East Fork of the San Jacinto River. The river hit major flood stage on Thursday and is forecast to crest Saturday morning just a few feet shy of the record level during Harvey. “We want you out of this area… this is a life-threatening situation,” Hidalgo said at a news conference. The level of water rise anticipated will impact elevated structures and may rise to reach rooftops or power lines, according to Hidalgo.

In the Harris County suburb of Crosby, a school bus driver spotted flooding over a road that had not yet been barricaded, stopped the bus and had the middle and high school students on board exit through the rear door, according to a statement from the school district. Another bus brought the students to school, where they were provided with breakfast and dry clothes, the statement added.

At least 178 people rescued in Texas as rivers flood to Hurricane Harvey levels, with more rain forecasted | CNN (2)

Flooding in Livingston, Texas.

• Liberty County, about 45 miles northeast of Houston: The Coast Guard transported a 12-hour-old baby girl by helicopter from Cleveland, Texas, Friday. The girl was experiencing low oxygen levels at Texas Emergency Hospital, which does not have a neonatal intensive care unit, according to a news release from the Coast Guard. Due to flooding, she could not be transported by ambulance on the ground. The helicopter took the girl and her mother to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where the baby was reported to be in stable condition, the release added.

Voluntary evacuations due to flooding were also in place for Montgomery County, just to the north of Harris County.

Disaster declarations are active for over a third of Texas counties after Gov. Greg Abbott expanded the storm-related declarations in response to the flooding, according to a news release. Additional counties could be added in the coming days, particularly with more storms in the forecast.

Parts of eastern Texas have received anywhere from three to seven times their typical rainfall over the last three to four weeks. The repeated bouts of heavy rainfall soaked soils, making many areas extremely prone to both flash and river flooding. Nearly a foot of rain fell in some spots from Thursday to Friday morning, delivering the final blow. Periods of rain will continue through Friday evening, and an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain are possible.

The worst flooding is confined to southeastern Texas where at least a dozen river gauges – including parts of the San Jacinto and Trinity rivers – are in major flood stage, the highest level, as of Friday morning. Several more sites are forecast to experience major flooding by the weekend and could meet or exceed record levels set during Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey created a widespread flooding disaster in Houston after dropping 30 to 40 inches of rain across the entire metro in just 48 hours. While this week’s ongoing flooding is notable, it’s much less widespread and occurring north of where Harvey’s worst rain fell.

Powerful storms rolled across the state

As torrential rain flooded eastern Texas, severe thunderstorms spun up tornadoes both north and south of the Abilene area in west Texas. There were eight reports of tornadoes Thursday, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

A tornado does damage in Hawley, Texas on May 2, 2024.

A “large and extremely dangerous” tornado impacted the towns of Hodges and Hawley – about 10 miles north of Abilene – Thursday evening.

Around 30 homes in Hawley were shredded by the tornado’s winds, with entire sections of some homes left completely exposed. Cars in the area also sustained damage from flying debris. There were “numerous” injuries, but no deaths as of Friday morning, Hawley Police Chief Brad Wilson told CNN.

At least one area school district is allowing students to study from home or take time to recover Friday, following Thursday evening’s damaging tornado.

“The Hawley community has been hit pretty hard and we have several families that have lost homes,” the Hawley Independent School District said in a Facebook post.

At least 178 people rescued in Texas as rivers flood to Hurricane Harvey levels, with more rain forecasted | CNN (3)

A home damaged by storms Thursday in between Hawley and Hodges, Texas.

Rainfall totals from flooding in Texas and Louisiana this week showed nearly two feet of rain in five days, according to the National Weather Service. Totals ranged from 23.56 inches in Groveton, Texas, to 18.42 inches in Livingston, Texas.

CNN’s Allison Chinchar, Sara Tonks, Ray Sanchez, Andy Rose, Joe Sutton and Paradise Afshar contributed to this report.

At least 178 people rescued in Texas as rivers flood to Hurricane Harvey levels, with more rain forecasted | CNN (2024)


What parts of Texas flooded during Harvey? ›

Major flooding reported in East Texas
  • San Jacinto River below Lake Houston.
  • East Fork of San Jacinto River - near Cleveland, TX.
  • Trinity River below Lake Livingston.
  • West Fork of San Jacinto River below Lake Conroe.
1 day ago

Did Hurricane Harvey cause more wind or water damage what percent of river forecast points reached new record levels? ›

All of this rainfall caused catastrophic drainage issues and made rivers rise greatly. Only around 10 percent of the river forecast points in southeast Texas remained below flood stage due to the event, and approximately 46 percent of the river forecast points reached new record levels.

How many homes were flooded during Hurricane Harvey? ›

Roughly 700 homes have been flooded, according to emergency management officials, who warned additional rainfall could keep flood levels on the rise in the coming days.

How much rain did Hurricane Harvey drop on Texas? ›

Many locations in the Houston metropolitan area observed at least 30 in (760 mm) of precipitation, with a maximum of 60.58 in (1,539 mm) in Nederland. This makes Harvey the wettest tropical cyclone on record for both Texas and the United States, surpassing the previous rainfall record held by Tropical Storm Amelia.

Has Texas fully recovered from Hurricane Harvey? ›

According to a survey released today by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs, most Houstonians affected by Harvey's devastation have totally or nearly recovered, yet some residents are still unable to get back on their feet.

Did Brazos River flood during Harvey? ›

Detailed Description

Among the many waterways in southeastern Texas that exceeded flood stage was the Brazos River, which flows past Houston to its west and to the Gulf of Mexico at Freeport.

What was the worst hurricane in history? ›

The Galveston Hurricane of August 1900 was the deadliest hurricane in United States history, according to NOAA, causing tremendous destruction and loss of life. An estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people died in the storm, making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

What impact did Hurricane Harvey have on Texas? ›

The highest gust from Harvey was recorded at 140 mph (230 km/h) in Rockport, Texas, where every single building was damaged by the storm. Overall, Harvey contributed to 68 direct deaths and 35 indirect deaths–a total of 103–and caused at least $51.177 billion in damage in Texas alone.

Will Houston get a hurricane in 2024? ›

According to CSU researchers, there's a 54% chance of at least one hurricane landfall within 50 miles of any one point along the Texas Gulf Coast this year. This number is roughly 20 percentage points higher than the 1880 to 2020 probability of a hurricane landfall in the area.

What was the last hurricane to hit Texas? ›

September 14, 2021 – the slow-moving Hurricane Nicholas makes landfall on the eastern part of Matagorda Peninsula as a low-end Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph (121 km/h). Over 500,000 people lose power in the state's affected areas.

What state was most affected by Hurricane Harvey? ›

Harvey is one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, with estimated damages exceeding $155 billion. The storm stalled over Texas for several days, intensifying the flooding and prolonging its impact. The extreme weather and flooding displaced thousands of people from their homes.

Where did the water go after the storm Hurricane Harvey? ›

Around 60 percent was lost or drained into the ocean and Galveston Bay over the first few days after the storm, and the remaining 10 percent was lost via evapotranspiration, or a combination of evaporation and plant transpiration," said first author Chris Milliner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, ...

What made Hurricane Harvey so bad? ›

When Harvey made landfall in Texas, it was a Category 4 hurricane, and it became a tropical storm a day later. But wind currents didn't push the storm far enough away from the Gulf of Mexico quickly enough, so Harvey was continuously fed by warm water vapor, producing heavy rain.

Which hurricane dumped the most rain? ›

Overall wettest in the contiguous United States

The 10 highest rainfall amounts from tropical cyclones in the contiguous United States since 1950. Amelia 1978 held the record until Hurricane Harvey dropped 60.58 inches (1538.7 mm) in 2017. Ref.

Where did Hurricane Harvey hit the hardest? ›

Rockport and Fulton were hardest by the storm as they took a direct hit from Harvey's eyewall. Many structures, residences, and business in and near the Rockport and Fulton area were damaged or destroyed, as roofs were blown off and walls collapsed.

Where were the floods in Texas? ›

Harris, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Liberty, Walker and Polk counties are among those affected by the flash floods, though much of southeast Texas was also hit hard. More than 600 people have been rescued from flood waters across the region. Online images showed the extent of the devastation in the flooded communities.

Where did the water from Hurricane Harvey go? ›

Around 60 percent was lost or drained into the ocean and Galveston Bay over the first few days after the storm, and the remaining 10 percent was lost via evapotranspiration, or a combination of evaporation and plant transpiration," said first author Chris Milliner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, ...

Did Magnolia TX flood during Harvey? ›

Magnolia Flood History

Based on Risk Factor™ flood-recreation models, there have been 1 major flooding event in Magnolia, TX. There were 24 properties impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 09/2017.

Did New Territory flood during Harvey? ›

Protect New Territory in the event the Brazos River is high and there is rainfall within the district. How did LID 7 protect New Territory residents and homes during this historic event? The flooding that occurred during Harvey was solely do to rainfall within the district.


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