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Houston Area Grinds to a Halt After Heavy Rainfall, Flooding Cover Region

Update 7:40 a.m.: Heavy rains and flash flooding across the Houston area shuttered schools, universities and city buildings Monday morning. The National Weather Service is currently reporting flash flood warnings across the area, even calling the situation a “flash flood emergency” in areas west and northwest of the city, which, according to the NWS, may have already received as much as 16 inches of rain since last night.

The City of Houston has closed city offices, including municipal courts, and has told non-essential employees to stay home for the day. The crappy weather has also canceled Mayor Sylvester Turner’s first state of the city speech, which was scheduled for today (although you could probably still use the #stateofhou hashtag to tag all your flooding photos). In addition, METRO has suspended bus and rail service today owing to “catastrophic weather and flooding.” The University of Houston has shuttered its campuses (UH, UH Sugar Land and UH Northwest) for the day. CenterPoint is currently reporting more than 109,000 customers without power in the area. 

The storm has also delayed flights in and out of the region. According to FlightAware, all flights into Bush Intercontinental have delayed landing until at least 8:15 a.m.

Houston TranStar is currently reporting more than 60 area roadways with high water. Which evidently means some people are resorting to commute by kayak. Check out this photo taken near 610 and 59, which has evidently turned into a water recreation area this morning (see the bottom of this post for more flooding photos):  Update 6:39 a.m.: Houston ISD and most of the other local school districts have canceled classes for the day Monday. Metro has suspended service. A flood watch is in effect through 7 a.m. Tuesday. 

Update: 6:45 a.am. Rice University announced it is closed until noon and a decision about afternoon classes will be made by 11 a.m.

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(Original story)
Heavy rains that canceled the second day of the BP MS 150 moved through central Texas on Sunday on their way east. Significant rain began falling around the Houston area on Sunday evening, but these rains are just the precursor to what could be much heavier rainfall across southeast Texas Monday and Tuesday. 

The National Weather Service is calling for rainfall totals ranging from three to ten inches across a wide swath of east Texas. The complex set of variables involved in this particular rain event, centered around a weak low pressure system crossing Texas, makes it difficult to forecast exactly where the worst rain will occur, but Eric Berger at Space City Weather thinks areas north and west of the city are at greatest risk.

The heaviest rain should continue to fall off and on and become steady Monday afternoon, continuing into the early morning hours of Tuesday, complicating rush hour throughout the entire area and potentially creating flash flooding.

Might want to bring an umbrella...or a canoe to work tomorrow.

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