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 even months. Power will remain out for several weeks until it safe for crews to repair the lines.
Fifteen to 25 inches of rain fell across a large portion of southeastern Texas as Harvey stalled following landfall.
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 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. Many will exceed record crests by a sizable margin in the coming days.
Rising rivers could lead to new flooding in areas 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.”
Harvey will slowly sink south and east toward the Gulf of Mexico into Tuesday, before making a turn to the north 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 along the Texas Coast, leading to more potential power outages and downed trees across the region.”
It will take a lower wind gust than normal to knock down trees and power lines given the saturated soil.
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.
A larger portion of Louisiana will be at risk for flooding this week when compared to over the weekend.
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, downpours may expand across the Arklatex and lower Mississippi Valley. Wet weather could also begin to stretch into Mississippi and Alabama.
Harvey will continue to pack a punch in terms of rainfall despite eventually weakening to a tropical depression and then a tropical rainstorm.
While feet of rain is not anticipated farther north, several inches of rain could easily be enough to flood low-lying streets and poor drainage areas. At the very least, travel disruptions will increase during the second half of the week.
Harvey may get pulled northeastward into the Ohio Valley and part of the Northeast as a tropical rainstorm late this week and into the weekend. Areas along the Gulf Coast would finally get a chance to dry out in this scenario.
However, there remains the potential for Harvey to fail to get pulled northeastward, resulting in continued downpours over the South Central states into the weekend.
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