Tropical rains surging onto the Texas coast from the Gulf of Mexico have triggered severe flooding in several areas.
Early Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency in the far southern part of the state, over the Rio Grande Valley, including Harlingen and Weslaco, through 1:30 p.m. Central. Weather.com reported submerged cars in floodwaters and multiple road closures in the region.
Video showed widespread inundation with shoulder-high water in the town of Mercedes, which is to the northwest of Brownsville:
The Weather Service said up to 15 inches of rain had fallen. “Move to higher ground now,” it cautioned. “This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.”
To the north, a second flash flood emergency, the most severe kind of flood alert, was issued for Rockport and Port Aransas, which is the same area where the eye of Hurricane Harvey came ashore last August. The Weather Service reported “ongoing water rescues and many streets flooded.” While the flash flood emergency was allowed to expire at 10:30 a.m. Central, a flash flood warning remained for the area through 12:15 p.m. Central because of the possibility for one to three inches of additional rainfall.
Since Tuesday, locations in this area, located just to the northeast of Corpus Christi, had received up to 10 inches of rain, with some storm totals since Monday exceeding a foot.
On Monday and Tuesday, areas even farther north were drenched by excessive rains. The Beaumont-Port Arthur area, which was also devastated by Harvey, received more than 10 inches of rain Monday and Tuesday, posting their fourth- and fifth-wettest June days on record.
Houston, so far, has avoided the worst of the deluge. Houston Hobby Airport has registered about an inch of rain, while Houston Intercontinental has been a bit more soggy, posting nearly 5 inches since Sunday. “Houston and Galveston represented a relative calm in the storm,” wrote meteorologist Eric Berger for the Houston weather blog Space City Weather.
The tropical disturbance responsible for all the rain along the Texas coast is forecast to get “stretched and pulled to the northeast, away from Texas” by Thursday, Berger wrote.
In the meantime, the National Weather Service predicts up to one to three inches of additional rain along the Texas coast before the rain eases.
Much of the Texas coastal region has seen drought conditions develop since the spring. While this rain is generally welcome, in areas witnessing flooding, it is too much of a good thing: