By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 28, 2017, 3:21:12PM,EDT
Harvey’s downpours will continue over Texas and Louisiana and slowly drift northward through the end of August, exacerbating the unprecedented flooding disaster that continues to unfold.“This is a devastating flooding event, the likes of which we have not seen in at least the last 12 years, since the Hurricane Katrina disaster,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.
Communities will be under water for weeks and perhaps a month or more. Power will remain out for several weeks until it is safe for crews to repair the lines.
Fifteen to 30 inches of rain fell across a large portion of southeastern Texas as Harvey stalled following landfall. As of early Monday afternoon, top rainfall from Harvey was near 36 inches.
Additional rainfall amounts of a foot or more this week will push levees and drainage systems past their limits. Water may need to be released from Barker and Addicks reservoirs to release the strain, further inundating some communities.
“There will be locations receiving at least 40 inches of rainfall when all is said and done,” Rossio said.
Bayous, streams and large rivers will remain well above flood stage into the first few days of September. Some will exceed record crests by a sizable margin in the coming days.
Rising rivers could lead to flooding in communities that have been spared thus far.
“Drinking water will likely be contaminated, leading to potential bacterial infections through ingestion,” Rossio said.
“Water should be boiled until the all clear is given,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. “Poisonous snakes, insects and other wild creatures will be displaced and will add to the danger.”
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The center of circulation from Harvey will drift just offshore of the Texas coast into Tuesday, before moving back onshore at midweek.
“There is some possibility it reacquires some of its lost intensity if it gets back over the Gulf of Mexico,” Rossio said. “This would yield more gusty winds right along the Texas Coast.”
It will take a lower wind gust than normal to knock down trees and power lines given the saturated soil.
Strengthening back to a Category 1 hurricane is unlikely.
The risk of a few isolated tornadoes and waterspouts will continue near and northeast of the center.
Regardless, downpours will continue to frequent the northern and eastern periphery of the storm. This will put southeastern Texas, including Houston, and southwestern Louisiana in the swath of persistent rainfall into midweek, which will slow the recession of floodwaters.
The most intense and longest-lasting downpours are likely to remain east of Houston for the duration of the storm. However, enough heavy rain will fall often enough on the Houston metro area to cause additional fluctuation in water levels and keep many areas under water through this week.
A larger portion of Louisiana will be at risk for flooding this week when compared to over the weekend. People from Baton Rouge and Alexandria on west should be on guard for rising water levels. While some downpours will reach New Orleans and may cause a few incidents of urban flooding, the heaviest and most frequent rain will likely stay west of the city.
Winds blowing in off the Gulf of Mexico will continue to push rough surf toward the coast, leading to extensive erosion on the beaches.
With Harvey’s anticipated track to the north later this week, tropical downpours may expand across the Arklatex and lower Mississippi Valley.
Harvey will continue to pack a punch in terms of rainfall despite eventually weakening to tropical rainstorm.
While feet of rain is not anticipated farther north, several inches of rain could easily be enough to flood some streets and poor drainage areas. At the very least, travel disruptions will increase during the second half of the week.
Harvey is projected to get pulled northeastward as a tropical rainstorm. Rain associated Harvey may reach the Ohio Valley as early as Friday afternoon and part of the Northeast during the Labor Day weekend. Areas along the Gulf Coast may finally get a chance to dry outl this weekend as a result.