Why we’re worried about the rest of tonight in Houston

A major rain band has slammed Houston this evening beginning on the west and southwest side, progressing through central Houston, and now it is approaching a line from The Woodlands to Baytown to League City. It has produced tropical-storm-esque rainfall rates of 4 inches per hour (and higher), which has backed up bayous. The National Weather Service issued a rare flash flood emergency, indicative of the dire state of affairs.

As a result of this, Houston on the cusp of a major, widespread flood event of that could affect thousands of homes. Only the fact that this main band has progressed slowly to the north-northeast has saved the region from greater flooding. So far, this has mostly been a street flooding issue. (Mostly). And while some bayous are teetering on the edge or overtopping their banks, for the most part the region’s bayou systems are holding. So the critical question is, what comes next? Is this it? Or will one or two more bands fire up before Sunday morning and push through Houston.

So, as of 10:30pm CT, here is what we are worrying about.

1. Will further rain bands from Harvey exacerbate a bad situation? Another rain band pushing into Houston from the west within the next several hours, of similar intensity to the first band, (Band 1 in the graphic below) would likely push bayous out of their banks, and turn a major street flooding problem into a major structure flooding problem.

Harvey’s radar appearance at 10:30pm CT Saturday. (Intellicast/Space City Weather)

2. Will Band 1 slow down as it moves toward a line from, say, Humble to Seabrook, or along the Gulf Freeway? There are some meteorological reasons to think it might, and this could potentially become a devastating event for the east side of Houston. A nearly stationary line of showers producing 4 inches of rain per hour does not take long to flood structures.

3. What comes next? Tropical Storm Harvey may be weakening, but its rainmaking potential isn’t going anywhere. The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center suggests this. We might hope that some of its ability to produce such massive, powerful rainbands diminishes over the next couple of days. But still, it’s going to be there in some form or fashion. Alas, we’ll have to worry about this one tomorrow.

10pm CT Saturday official forecast track for Tropical Storm Harvey. (National Hurricane Center)

We will continue updating tonight as warranted. Or as long as the beer here at Space City Weather HQ holds out.

Posted by Eric at 10:45pm CT on Saturday

28 thoughts on “Why we’re worried about the rest of tonight in Houston”

  1. “As long as the beer holds out.”

    Eric, you know how to bring just the right amount of light into a dark situation. Thank you and Matt again for your excellent work on this storm. Here’s hoping you can get some rest on this dark and stormy night.

  2. If it keeps you going, will boatbyou in some beer! Or coffee…whatever it takes. Thanks for your updates…they keep us all a little saner.

  3. Thank you as always for your updates! My dear Fulgencio and I are working through our wine and hoping the floods are not too bad. We fear this recent band of rain might put White Oak over the edge but we will hold on in hope it does not! Peace to you and yours.

  4. As long as the beer holds out? Stay strong, my friends! In all seriousness, thank you for the update

  5. Eric I am 45 North spring woodlands area do you think we will have opportunity to evacuate further north anytime from this point on? Or are we stuck for the duration ?

  6. Hi. I just want to pop in and say thanks to both of you for your continuous efgort to keep us apprised of the weather events. I’ve turned the TV on just a couple of times and thought “blech”, I’ll just go to SpaceCityWeather. Stay safe you guys!

  7. We arrived at IAH when I started the drive home at 8:30. Worst storm I have ever driven in. Made the mistake of exiting toll road because I couldn’t see then got stuck in Spring Branch street flooding. Should have just pulled over and never gotten off the freeway. Live and learn.

  8. Where does “Band 1 comes back west” fall into the picture, which is what I just heard KUHF’s meteorologist say is coming.

  9. Is there another place to monitor the creek/bayou levels besides HCFWS? Their server can’t keep up with the internet traffic [not sure why they weren’t prepared for that]. I’m trying to monitor Cypress Creek – I live near it in Cypress… hard to monitor if the site doesn’t work 🙁

    Thank you for the amazing reports!!!

  10. Thank you for all your updates! I’d bring you some more beer if I knew where HQ were and whether I could get there safely! Keep up the great work!

  11. I hope it’s good beer; y’all deserve it!

    And that anyone who didn’t wear their Space City Weather shirt today wears it tomorrow/in coming days. (While sheltering in place when appropriate, of course.)


    • “Space City Weather shirt”? If there is such a thing, I’m getting one!! I’d be proud to wear it!

  12. Perhaps next time you can let your readers know where we can drop off beer supplies ahead of time.


    Thank you for the updates.

    • I agree Fernando Zigler..where is the beer drop box at? Cypress area here just 5 miles south of where the tornado touched down earlier today. Thank y’all for the updates & much needed information

  13. We ran into someone new to the area who was really freaking out over Brays Bayou being so high… we suggested she check out your website because of its “no hype” nature and she said she’d already heard of you! And was going back home to check you out. I thought that was pretty awesome 🙂 Always nice to see someone as awesome as you guys gain in popularity! Thanks for everything you do! Clearly, it makes a difference 🙂

  14. Do you see the motion of the storm match the models? It seems like it isn’t moving south at all.

  15. Thanks for the awesome, data driven reporting and great explanations. Really refreshing when the major news outlets are trying to sensationalize everything at the expense of transmitting accurate information to the people who need it most

  16. Congressman Culberson was just on Fox News talking about the storm and recommended people follow your website as a source of reliable information! Thanks for what you do, glad to see you getting the respect you deserve.

  17. Just saw a report on Nextdoor that there are folks on Gunwale in Clear Lake City with water in their house. Hope you’re doing okay, Eric.

  18. If you all let your preferred brands / flavors be known, I am sure that any beverage deficiency will easily be remedied.
    I would also like to add a message particularly for Eric…your reply to the “peachy” comment the other day was spot on. The temperatures we are experiencing are exceptionally fine for late August…B U T…
    Thanks very much gentlemen for your tireless efforts bringing a common sense picture to a subject that effects us all and always.

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