Nearly 100,000 customers were left without power on early Wednesday after heavy torrential rain. Across Southeast Texas, millions are under severe weather alerts, including warnings for flash floods and tornado watches. The Houston metro area in Harris County, the state’s most populous county, was under a flash flood warning until 12:45 a.m. local time.
Areas near College Station and Houston were also under a tornado watch until 2 a.m. as they were expected to experience hail, damaging winds, and heavy lighting.
Parts of Austin County, Burleson County, Colorado County, Waller County, Washington County, and Wharton County were all under flash flood warnings Tuesday night. Those counties received around 2-4 inches of rainfall, and it is expected to continue for the next few hours.
As of early Wednesday, nearly 100,000 customers were without power in Texas, according to the website PowerOutage.
Life-threatening flash flooding is expected to begin in creeks and streams, highways, streets, urban areas, and underpasses in the coming hours.
In Louisiana, authorities are investigating five deaths related to severe weather conditions. Three people were in submerged vehicles in various parts of the state. The other two deaths were people who were on oxygen when their power went out, Shane Evans, chief of investigations with the coroner’s office in East Baton Rouge.
Parents use boats to pick up students from schools after nearly a foot of rain fell in Lake Charles in Louisiana.
“Had their machines been working, there is no doubt in my mind they would be alive today,” Evans said.
The Louisiana State Patrol said a crash Monday night in West Baton Rouge Parish left one person dead, another missing, and others with minor injuries.
Extreme rainfall and increased rainfall rates are closely linked with warming temperatures and the climate crisis.
“The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events across the United States have increased … and are expected to continue to increase over the coming century,” according to the US National Climate Assessment in 2018.
These trends are consistent, according to scientists, with what is expected in a warming world, as warmer temperatures cause more evaporation which leads to higher levels of water vapor in the atmosphere, which can, in turn, lead to more frequent and more intense rainfall.