So we’re now under a “Flash Flood Emergency for Catastrophic Life Threatening Flooding”

Well, it’s sure been a night in Houston. And as mad as it’s been, it seems we are just not done. I feel almost guilty for writing about this, as I so desperately wish to report some good news for a change. Because it sure feels like we ought to be done with the rain. At least for a little while.

To put this into perspective, let’s review. First, around sunset, Band 1 stormed through Houston from west to east, topping off our bayous. Then it stalled over east Houston. Next came Band 2, which as it moved in from the west intensified about the time it reached the western city limits. Then, having made some unholy alliance with Band 1, the two merged more or less over downtown Houston. This created what meteorologists properly call a seething nexus of hate (and rain).

But no, we’re not done. Whereas it was once a thin line of showers, Band 3 is fattening up as it moves up the Highway 59 corridor toward Houston. Here’s the state of play as of 1:45am CT on Sunday.

Houston’s crazy night on the radar continues. (Space City Weather/Intellicast)

I can’t really say whether Band 3 will strengthen further as it rotates east-northeast, but it seems already plenty healthy to bring another 3 to 5 inches of rain as it crosses Houston. And that assumes it keeps moving, rather than merging with the previous to rain bands to form a trinity of calamity. If that happens, God help us all.

Speaking of that, for the first time ever, the National Weather Service just issued what it is calling a “Flash Flood Emergency for Catastrophic Life Threatening Flooding.” And not to sound too flippant, but that sounds really bad. You should probably heed their advice—WHICH IS SIMPLY DO NOT TRAVEL. DO NOT IMPEDE WATER RESCUES IN PROGRESS.

Is that clear enough?

(National Weather Service)

My wife, bless her, just asked me if Band 3 was it for the night. I wanted nothing more than to fall in her arms and tell her yes, this was it. By God, yes. Let’s go to bed and forget this ever happened. It had to be it, surely.

Well, by looking at the radar I’m sort of hopeful this is it. But some of the very same high-resolution models that indicated earlier Saturday that Houston was going to get slobberknocked tonight suggest that Band 3 isn’t it—that our rains will continue well into Sunday morning.

I dearly, dearly, dearly hope those models are wrong. Houston’s future (and our collective sanity) more or less depend upon that now.

End note: If you home has flooded, then we are truly sorry. No words from us can begin to address that problem. But we can say that millions of people have been through this before, and it can be done. Some good, basic advice, can be found here. And although this handbook from FEMA is dated, it provides detailed steps to take care of yourself, your family, and your property in the aftermath of a flooding event.

Posted by Eric at 2am CT on Sunday

53 thoughts on “So we’re now under a “Flash Flood Emergency for Catastrophic Life Threatening Flooding””

  1. We’re getting a break in Webster. Flood Control map says we got 9.5″ over the last 3 hours.
    I’m afraid to go to sleep…

  2. I so look forward to reading, “Houston, the sun is shining!” Thank you for keeping us informed!

  3. Thank you for the update, despite its dire nature. We’ve never experienced this kind of flooding before and your honest, straight-forward take on things has been so essential. On with the night watch, now.

  4. I just got up to check status. So far, water is staying in the street and not creeping up my driveway. So far. I remember how the storms trained over and over with Allison. It just would not stop. This is the same. Unbelievable amounts of water falling. We can only watch and pray. This is really, really bad.

  5. What’s the situation for PLantersville? I have kids and grandkids there and they had had about 13 inches of rain several hours ago.

  6. Thank you so much for your excellent and determined efforts to keep us informed. I really appreciate it. God help us get through all of this.

  7. Thanks Eric for keeping watch and keeping us up to date. I think it’s safe to say we’re all praying for Houston tonight.

  8. Thank you thank you thank you. This is scary stuff but as always, so appreciative of your honesty. Many thanks to your wife as well for letting the public steal her husband for these important updates!

  9. Eric –

    I’m glad you can keep your humor in all of this (our senses of humor are similar – science geek humor), but I’ve lost mine along with my sanity.

    At least it look like I’ve got a three hour reprieve from the heavy rain, so time tyo get some dicey sleep until the next band hits.

  10. Thanks for these updates Eric. Helping keep us sane here in Heritage Park. Water was in the house, but it had receded…just before this latest band hit. Stay dry!

  11. I would love a capping inversion right now. Thanks for the updates, no matter how dire things are looking. Wishing everyone the best out there.

    Also, do you see anything that suggests the storm deteriorates more than expected as it sits over land? Maybe a new development suggesting this? It’s wishful thinking, but I had to ask.

  12. Thank you Eric and Matt for all that you do. We’re hunkered down in Nassau Bay, hoping the rain slacks off and the streets drain. Thankfully power is still on and in side the house is still dry.

  13. What, was “Stay the Fuck Inside Your House or You’ll Fucking Die” warning already taken?

  14. I hope band 3 is it for 2-3 hours.

    Thanks for the great service that you and Mat provide.
    Been a faithful follow follower since before the Katy jokes started.


  15. I am so frustrated that NOONE will mention the Tomball/Spring area. Not one news station has even mentioned it and the books airport website that is literally in my back yard has 17.1 inches reported. What is the prognosis of the creeks in this area!? Can someone please mention something other than south west and the city center!?

    • The Alert emails I’m getting mention Tomball. I highly suggest signing up – they’re free! – even though I get like 5 alerts an hour including from areas I’m not even close to.

    • No one knows what the rain bands are going to do, so “prognosis” generally means “it’s already flooding in these places”.

      In any case, you can view local water status on Willow Creek is pushing at its banks. Upper Spring Creek is bad out by Hockley, but near Tomball it’s still got 5 feet to go before it’s over the top. Cypress Creek is at or over its banks along its whole length all the way down to the San Jacinto River.

  16. Thanks for all you have done for the people of the greater Houston area, Eric.

    Stay dry, Friend.

  17. Hey Eric and Matt – I don’t usually comment on your posts, but I am an avid reader. Thank you both so much for your work in informing the public in Houston about this storm. It has been truly a heroic effort. We have a long way to go, but again, thank you.

  18. Thank you for your work and these honest reports. Even if it is bad news, our family appreciates the honesty.

  19. Please keep safe. I know how hard that must have been to write as much as it was to read. Thanks for providing the facts. Hoping things look better in the light of tomorrow.

  20. Thanks for this latest info. I’m riding out the storm in Austin. Thursday I am flying to London from IAH. Will there be a break between now & then when I can safely drive back to Houston? Thank you! You must be exhausted.

  21. You guys are the greatest, and my family really respects you for all you do. In Pattison, WNW from Katy, at 3:30 AM we had 10.14″ from midnight.

  22. Morning. Just took 3 hour nap and catching up. Out here in sienna, how is fb looking? Thanks for all that you guys do.

  23. With apologies to the “horse already has left the barn” cliche, maybe this disaster FINALLY will lead to flood and stormwater being required of ALL development, regardless of type, and regardless of the $ contributed to anyone’s election campaig

    • It’s not disastrous because of development. It’s disastrous because of the weather. 15″ of rain in one day onto flat land while storm surge blocks outflow to the Gulf is going to cause flooding, period.

      And some parts of the area have readings as high as 22″.

      • That’s true, and I’m not saying we should plan for regular 500 year floods like this one appears to be. But in far less rainfall the past 5 years, areas that never flooded before suddenly began flooding). Recall that the City’s “stormwater tax” was diverted to other spending. And in Montgomery County a couple years ago, the former County Judge (retired) said he thought there was “too much stormwater management concern.” That is an idiotic statement, given the points you correctly made. Tulsa County and City require stormwater abatement designed into every project before the first shovel of dirt is dug. I lived there some years ago, and those govts want economic growth, but properly planned

  24. Riding it out in Austin, but have to drive to Houston on Thursday morning for a medical treatment. Do you think there will be a break? Unfortunately, I cannot postpone this treatment.

    Thanks for keeping it real for everyone!

  25. Warn everyone. But please stop with the overdramatics. Your giving the single moms out here heart attacs give the advice on how to get through it. Try to be as positive as possible. Don’t sugar coat. But try to give them hope thank you

  26. Any advice about what to do if waters rise and the power is still on? My mom’s house in Friendswood took on 8in of water which has since mostly receded, but they still have power. Everything I’ve read says NOT to turn off the main breaker if you have to stand in water to do so. But I’m worried that the water level will go up again and go over the sockets this time, with the power still on. That seems pretty dangerous! And I don’t think that the electric company is going to make it out to anyone anytime soon. The advice link at the bottom of the post doesn’t address this question about how to safely turn off power *during* a flood. Anyone know what to do? Thank you, and hope everyone stays safe!!

    • KPRC had the head of electricity for Houston on the phone earlier (that might not be his official title, but close enough.) He said to get stand on something, preferably wood, to get you out of the water, then use a piece of wood or even dry cardboard to turn off the breaker. Main thing is for the person to not have contact with the flood water and breaker simultaneously.

  27. Please keep these updates coming. Your straight forward, no nonsense forecasts are lifelines of information to us desperate Houstonians. Please keep the projected forecasts coming. Grace and Peace.

  28. Matt & Eric – thank you for continuing to keep us updated, even when it’s depressing news to share. Please remember the number of lives you’ve saved so far! Thank you so much.

  29. Live off 1097 by Lake Conroe in Montgomery Co. when is rain expected to end? Have power however no Directv.

  30. Is the feeder road between rayford sawdust & Robinson road clear of water? I need to make quick trip to HEB And i have a small car. Dont want to get flooded out. Please someone advise.

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