Another Round of Imelda Rain Threatens Houston Wednesday Night

Heavy bands of rain continued to pound areas south of Houston Wednesday morning, some with rates of 4 and 5 inches per hour. Overnight, spots mainly south and east of Harris County got the worst of it, but as that lifts north throughout Wednesday, central Houston's date with Imelda may be still to come.

Harris County's rainfall totals over the last 24 hours have been wildly divergent with extreme southern parts of the county picking up 7 to 8 inches in places while northern and western parts saw only about a quarter inch. Inside the Loop saw totals of typically 2 to 3 inches, mostly during the overnight hours.

Tropical systems tend to do their greatest damage — in terms of rainfall — in the overnight and early morning hours. After landfall on Tuesday, rain bands slowly spread out across eastern and southern parts of southeast Texas throughout the afternoon and evening. Central Houston sat in the center of the doughnut.

But, the storm's center of circulations (what's left of it) is forecast to continue moving due north at around 7 mph for at least another 48 hours and, as it does, those bands that were closer to the coast will move farther inland.

The question is going to be where they ultimately set up and we just don't know at this point, but it's a safe bet much of the area including Harris County has one more round of heavy rain coming its way tonight.

Much like Tuesday night, areas east of Interstate 45 should continue to be the most vulnerable, but central Houston could see higher rainfall rates tonight than we saw overnight Tuesday. With the ground saturated, bayous will begin to rise quickly and certainly plenty of flash flooding will occur on area streets.

The worst of it will likely start late in the afternoon and continue through Wednesday night. By late in the morning Thursday, the storm should have lifted to our north and we can begin to dry out.

As has been pointed out by local officials, this isn't Hurricane Harvey or even Tropical Storm Allison. We aren't expecting widespread areas of 20-plus inches of rain. But, that doesn't mean it won't cause fairly significant street flooding or that certain bayous, already close to full (Armand Bayou, Turkey Creek, for example) might not come out of their banks with additional rainfall.

For Wednesday night anyway, if you can stay off the roads, do so. By Thursday morning, we should be in much better shape and the weekend appears to be sunny and dry.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke