The National Weather Service is running out of adjectives to describe the severity and impact of the flooding in Houston, Texas, and its surrounding areas.
The remnants of Hurricane Harvey (once a Category 4 storm) have dumped feet of rain on the city. And feet more are still to come. The service has called the flooding disaster “catastrophic” and “life threatening.” It’s said “the breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before,” and that “this event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown…” It even had to readjust the color schemes on its rainfall total maps to show rainfall totals greater than 20 inches. And remember: The Weather Service is a government agency known for its sober-minded messaging and avoidance of hyperbole.
It may be hard to fathom what feet of rain — amounts equaling yearly averages falling in a few days — look like. Parts of Houston have recorded 30 or as high as 40 inches of rain so far. This is where images help. Here, collected from photo wires and social media posts, is what a catastrophic flood looks like.