In maps: Houston and Texas flooding

In maps: Houston and Texas flooding
In maps: Houston and Texas flooding

Houston is battling to recover from devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, a category four storm which has dumped a record breaking amount of rain on the city in recent days.

At least 30 people are known to have died across Texas, while thousands of people have fled their homes to emergency shelters.

The rainfall in Texas has set a new record for the continental US, the National Weather Service has said. A rain gauge in Cedar Bayou recorded 51.88 inches (132 cm) of rain since Friday.

Almost a third of Harris County, part of the Houston metropolitan area and home to 4.6 million people, is reportedly underwater – an area 15 times the size of Manhattan.

Imagery from the TerraSAR-X radar satellite shows the extent of flooding.

The artificially blue-coloured areas show water detected before and after the storm.


See how flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey have covered low-lying areas


Satellite image of Texas coastline after Hurricane Harvey showing flooding


Satellite image of Texas coastline before Hurricane Harvey

Relief effort in Houston

Police have rescued some 3,500 people from floodwater in the Houston area.

The George R Brown Convention Center, which has a 5,000 capacity, has sheltered up to 10,000 people forced from their homes.

Victims are now being sent to a new relief hub at the larger NRG Center.

Televangelist Joel Osteen has also opened his 16,000 capacity Lakewood Church, after criticism that it was not initially accepting people seeking shelter.

Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner has requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) to shelter an additional 10,000 people.

Up to 500,000 people in Texas will ultimately require some form of assistance, federal officials estimate.

A curfew has been established in Houston from midnight-05:00 local time (05:00-10:00 GMT)

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Thousands of people are sheltering in the George R Brown Convention Center.

Damage in Houston

The cost of dealing with property damage and lost economic activity could reach $50bn, according to the Houston Chronicle, citing an estimate from the Greater Houston Partnership and Moody’s Analytics.

At least 50,000 homes are flooded in the Houston area, Texas officials say, with the figure expected to rise.

The Addicks and Barker reservoirs to the west of the city are at overflow levels, with engineers battling to control the release of water into the Buffalo Bayou, which flows through central Houston.

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Image caption

More than 3,000 people have been rescued in Houston alone.

Bridges and roads have been damaged, and both of Houston’s airports are likely to remain closed until Wednesday or Thursday.

The oil and chemical industry, which has extensive facilities in coastal Texas, has also suffered.

Many large refineries and plants have been closed because of damage or for safety reasons, while the Port of Houston is expected to be shut until at least the end of the week.

Further south, buildings on the coast were destroyed and damaged by high winds as Hurricane Harvey made its initial landfall, with gusts reaching 130mph.


See impact of Hurricane Harvey on community near Rockport


Aerial image shows impact of Hurricane Harvey on houses near Rockport, Texas


Houses near Rockport, Texas, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall

Record rainfall

Hurricane Harvey has broken the previous continental US record for rainfall delivered by a single tropical depression, with almost 52 inches falling in Cedar Bayou by 30 August.

The previous record was 48 inches, which fell during Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978, also in Texas.

Flooded rivers

Rivers at 50 locations across a huge swathe of south and east Texas are now at so-called ‘flood stage’.

This is defined by the US National Weather Service as the level at which water is inundating areas normally dry areas, causing disruption or a threat to life and/or property.

Some are in densely populated areas, and others are in or near remote, rural and isolated communities.

Path of the storm

Hurricane Harvey initially made landfall near Corpus Christi late on Friday 25 August, but then doubled back on itself and headed back out into the Gulf of Mexico.

By 18:00 GMT on Friday, sustained wind speeds had dropped to 70mph, downgrading it to a tropical storm. At this point, the storm was travelling very slowly – at about 2mph – making the effect of the rainfall inland worse.

Forecast track: Friday 25 August

Forecast track: Wednesday 30 August

The storm made landfall again in the neighbouring state of Louisiana, which saw devastating flooding from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Low-lying New Orleans is bracing to receive up to 10in (25cm) of rain in 36 hours, with a risk of flash floods.

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