Flash flood emergency declared in Houston, Texas with 'unprecedented' 50in of rainfall

Flash flood emergency declared in Houston, Texas with 'unprecedented' 50in of rainfall
A flash flood emergency has been declared in the Houston area of Texas by the National Weather Service after water reached the second floors of houses south of the city. The heavy rains were brought about by hurricane Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm.

Reports of water reaching the second storeys of houses and apartment complexes came not only from southern Huston, but also from Dickinson in nearby Galveston County.

Some rivers in the Houston area were at around eight to ten feet (2.4-3 meters) over their banks, WBTV reported.

Over a thousand people have been rescued from the affected area since early Saturday.

“I know for a fact this is the worst flood Houston has ever experienced,” Patrick Blood, National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Houston Chronicle.

Blood warned that the catastrophic flooding in the Houston metropolitan area is expected to worsen.”

The National Weather Service has warned that rainfall from Hurricane Harvey could reach 50 inches (1.27 meters) in some places, which would be the highest-ever level registered in Texas.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston has announced the cancellation of commercial flights due to the flooding.

According to the local power companies, 250,000 of their customers have been left without electricity due to the storm.

READ MORE: Devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey as death toll rises (VIDEO)

The National Weather Service has warned that rainfall from Hurricane Harvey could reach 50 inches (1.27 meters) in some places, which would be the highest-ever level registered in Texas.

The Weather Service office in Houston reported that 24.1 inches (61 cm) of rain fell in the 24 hours following 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

During a press-conference on Sunday, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said emergency services have responded to more than 2,000 calls to 911 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

There were 250 vehicle rescues carried out in the storm, according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena.

Mayor Turner urged people to stay indoors and refrain from driving, as many streets in the city are flooded, AP reported.

He ordered the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center to be turned into a shelter for those fleeing the flood.

Turner also defended his decision not to ask people to evacuate before Hurricane Harvey hit the city bringing the heavy rainfall.

“If you think the situation right now is bad and you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare,” the mayor explained.

According to unconfirmed data from the National Weather Service, five people have been so far killed by the storm.

The CCN reported two fatalities, with a woman drowning after driving her car in high water in Houston and another person dying in a storm-related fire in Rockport.

The actual death toll remains unclear as the rescuers are simply unable to reach all those stranded by the disaster in their homes or cars.

The extent of the damage from Harvey is hard to assess at the moment, but Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, William Brock Long, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the length of the recovery process is “going to be years.”

Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, hit the Gulf coast of Texas at around 10:00 local time on Saturday with powerful winds and heavy rainfall.

It reached Houston early on Sunday, dumping 20 to 30 inches (50 to 70 cm) of rain on the already saturated city.

US President Donald Trump announced that he intends to visit the affected Houston area next week.