After several bayous returned within their banks after torrential rains Tuesday morning, Houston braced for another wallop from a low pressure system that is idling over the region.
Meteorologists are reluctant to predict exactly when and where more rain will come, but warn an additional two to five inches could fall in the area by Wednesday morning. But with bayous already swollen and the ground saturated, any additional precipitation could cause more flooding, with flash floods being a particular concern.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Harris, Polk, San Jacinto, Montgomery and Chambers counties until 8 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasters at KHOU say another two to four inches of rain could fall on metro Houston and to the east through Tuesday afternoon, as scattered thunderstorms pop up in the area.
A slow, meandering low pressure system will be to blame if the rain shifts back west Wednesday morning, as meteorologists predict could happen. But even if rains persist throughout Wednesday morning, the chance of precipitation decreases the rest of the week.
Overnight on Tuesday, western Harris County was pounded by rain. Some areas, particularly in west Houston, Katy and Jersey Village, saw between four and six inches. Several waterways overran their banks — including White Oak Bayou near downtown — and snarled morning commutes. Several roads were closed and Metro bus routes were cut off by floodwaters.
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Despite pleas from local officials to "turn around, don't drown," several vehicles were submerged in floodwater.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office said it conducted nine high-water rescues Tuesday morning, and the Houston Fire Department chipped in another 17, though zero flood-related fatalities had been reported Tuesday afternoon.
In north Houston, Halls Bayou jumped its banks and flooded homes and businesses along West Mount Houston Road. South Mayde Creek, along the Energy Corridor, also flooded.