It was a wet, soggy night in Houston. Several bayous briefly topped their banks, including White Oak near downtown. Several dozen streets flooded. But all in all, for a rain storm that generally dumped 5 to 10 inches across the Houston metro area, most people managed to come through really well.
Only light to moderate rain is falling on Houston this morning as of 10 a.m., and this should come to an end from west to east between noon and about 6 p.m.
As the rains have ebbed this morning the number of road closures has fallen to seven, so it should generally be safe to be out and about later today if necessary.
For the Houston metro area the most significant issues are along the coast, where the remnants of Patricia are kicking up high strong rip tides and pushing water over low-lying areas such as Bolivar Peninsula. Winds are strong too, gusting to over 45 mph along the coast in places like Galveston.
High water — especially near downtown — has caused some 30 road closures around Houston tonight. That’s what 8 to 9 inches of rain in about half a day will do for you. Those who remained at home on Saturday night were wise to do so.
Yet as jarring as the rains have been for some drivers, most Houston residents avoided serious damage from flooding as dry soils soaked up moisture and bayous carried the rest away.
As I write this intermittent heavy showers are still moving across Houston, but the overall trend is one of slow eastward movement of this system.
Therefore, while it seems likely the rain will continue into the middle of Sunday, for most areas there won’t be enough to cause significant property damage.
Houston missed out on some of the very intense rainfall rates that often accompany tropical systems, and whether we can thank the mountains of Mexico for that or the intrusion of some drier air from the west, I doubt few will complain. As for me, I am off to bed, and ready for that pillow.
Steady, moderate to heavy rain showers are continuing to fall across the Houston metro area tonight. But even the most intense showers are only producing rain at a rate of about 1.25 inches an hour. That is within the capacity of most Houston roadways and bayous to handle.
Emphasis on “most.” During the last hour some of the heaviest rain has fallen in central Houston, where areas like White Oak Bayou at Heights Boulevard has risen to within about 2.5 feet of the top of its banks. The bayou is likely to stray beyond its banks later this morning. A number of downtown streets may flood early Sunday morning.
It’s also true that there are already more than two dozen roadway closures in the region due to high water. But these are, for the most part, temporary closures of roads that often flood during heavy rains.
The reality is that this storm appeared capable of producing rainfall rates of 3 or even 4 inches per hour, which we have not seen so far today, nor do we seem likely to see on Sunday. This has allowed the region’s bayous to so far largely contain the heavy rain.