Major roadways closed, disruption to shipping to last days, if not weeks
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told ABC News this morning that the flooding over the Houston area may be historic. “Houston is an area that is prone to flood at least once a year,” he told George Stephanopoulos on “This Week, “but this is one of the worst, if not the worst that Houston has suffered.”
Flooding in the state is expected to get worse as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey linger over the Southeast portion of Texas, bringing with them bands of rain, heavy at times, for several days.
Throughout the southeast part of the state, hundreds of roadways are closed this morning due to debris, flooding and structural damage. The state continues to advise motorists to stay off the roads if possible, and if not, to avoid areas with water flowing over the roads.
According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 10 a.m., Harvey remained a Tropical Depression with winds of 40 mph, moving southeastward. NHC says current track guidance shows the storm meandering for the next 24 to 48 hours close to the coast, allowing it to maintain some of its punch. It should, after that time, begin moving northward into eastern Texas.
Some areas have already received 20 to 25 inches of rain and another 15 to 25 are possible over the next several days, NHC said. “These historic rainfall amounts will exacerbate the already dire and life-threatening situation,” NHC said.
Areas expected to be affected by flooding, rainfall, through Aug. 30. Graphics generated using Riskpulse data.
There are reports that 86% of the flood gauges in and around Houston are at or above flood stage and the city’s mayor reported more than 2,000 911 calls for rescue due to rising flood waters. People were being advised to climb to their roofs and wave towels or sheets as the U.S. Coast Guard tried to help, according to the Associated Press.
For the next several days, it is the flooding that is expected to be the main danger as water levels will continue to rise, roadways will remain flooded, and businesses closed due to flood damage.
Riskpulse, a supply chain risk analytics firm, says that disruption to the supply chain will be large in the area. The company continues to update the situation on its Real Time Analysis feed for Harvey.
“Flooding is likely to persist for many days and will be catastrophic [and] rainfall totals are still expected to be well over 20 inches across most of the area between Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi,” it said. “Some locations could observe 40 inches of rain. I-10 and U.S. 59 will become impassible in some places [and] 82 rivers are currently forecast to reach flood stage over the next five days in the vicinity of these two major shipping corridors.”
In its most recent Watchtower alert, Riskpulse says that Houston, which has received between 10 and 20 inches of rain so far, is still expecting 10 to 25 more inches.
“Most interstates in the Houston metro area are impassable and likely will be for several days,” the firm said. “The flooding will continue through at least Wednesday and possibly the end of the week.
“Numerous intense outer bands of Harvey have pounded Houston since Friday evening, and catastrophic flooding is underway,” Riskpulse added. “Overall, the most intense rainfall will continue between Port O’Connor and Lake Charles, with heavy rainfall persisting westward along the I-10 corridor toward San Antonio as well. On top of the 10-20 inches of rainfall that has already fallen, an additional 15-25 inches of rainfall are possible, with highest additional rainfall totals expected to occur in and around the Houston metro area. Storm total rainfall amounts around 50 inches cannot be ruled out by Wednesday.”
To give an example of the impact of flooding to the supply chain, Riskpulse COO Stephen Bennett isolated just a single shipper and the impact.
“A food and beverage shipper with production facilities in the Houston area is managing over 1,000 disrupted shipments between Friday and Wednesday,” he said. “Only 33 of these shipments were disrupted due to hurricane winds and storm surge. Over 97% of disruptions will be driven by flooded roadways, IM hubs and railways.”