Houston flooding nightmare to get even worse (Updated)

Houston flooding nightmare to get even worse (Updated)

This is what a Bangkok freeway could look like during a storm like Harvey. Downtown Houston and submerged highways are seen August 27, 2017 as the city battles with tropical storm Harvey and resulting floods. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas B. Shea
This is what a Bangkok freeway could look like during a storm like Harvey. Downtown Houston and submerged highways are seen August 27, 2017 as the city battles with tropical storm Harvey and resulting floods. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas B. Shea

What would happen if Bangkok were to be hit by 600 millimetres of rain in one day? Low-lying Houston, Texas is struggling to survive as tropical storm Harvey stalls and rain is expected throughout the week.

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Harvey is one of those nightmare storms that might or might not be related to climate change. The storm hits land with ferocious winds and unleashes torrents of rain as it slowly moves inland and then stalls. It is unclear how much longer Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas residents will have to put up with the storm, but forecasters say it will be at least until Friday.

Afternoon update

The Associated Press says that flood prevention reservoirs are rapidly filling, requiring water to be released to prevent dams from collapsing. You might remember the same thing happened in Thailand during the great floods of 2011.

People walk along Bayou Place as they view Houston's flooded theatre district August 27, 2017 as the city battles with tropical storm Harvey and resulting floods. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas B. Shea

Flooding to worsen a reservoir release scheduled

AP – Residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs designed to help prevent flooding in downtown Houston, were warned Sunday that a controlled release from both reservoirs would cause additional street flooding and could spill into homes. Rising water levels and continuing rain was putting pressure on the dams that could cause a failure without the release.

The Army Corps of Engineers early Monday started the water releases at the reservoirs ahead of schedule after water levels increased dramatically in a few hours' time, a Corps spokesman said. The timetable was moved up to prevent more homes from being affected by flooding from the reservoirs, Corps spokesman Jay Townsend said. He added that water levels were rising at a rate of more than six inches (15cm) per hour in both reservoirs.

Morning story

Houston battles massive floods

Houston, Aug 28, 2017, AFP – Massive flooding unleashed by deadly monster storm Harvey left Houston – the fourth-largest city in the United States – increasingly isolated Sunday as its airports and highways shut down and residents fled homes waist-deep in water.

The city's two main airports suspended all commercial flights and two hospitals were forced to evacuate patients. A local television station also was knocked off the air.

At least three people have been killed so far, with reports of other fatalities still unconfirmed.

The National Hurricane Center called the flooding "unprecedented" and said the storm, which crashed ashore late Friday as a huge Category 4 hurricane, would move into the Gulf of Mexico before doubling back midweek, bringing more rain.

Rising waters from Harvey inundated roads throughout the Houston area, affecting every major freeway and hamstringing efforts to move people to safety.

Evacuating residents from the Meyerland area walk onto an I-610 overpass for further help during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski

"It's crazy to see the roads you're driving on every day just completely under water," Houston resident John Travis told AFP.

Another city resident, Brit Dreger, said: "It doesn't look like we're going anywhere for a while."

Overwhelmed emergency services warned residents to head for high ground or climb onto rooftops – not into attics – so they could be seen by rescue helicopters. More than 1,500 rescues had been made so far.

Emergency 911 operators in Houston received 56,000 calls in a 15-hour span – seven times more than in a usual full day.

"The number of evacuees is increasing. The number in harm's way will increase also with the rain that is forecast to come," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, adding that the storm had already inflicted billions of dollars in damage.

Weather forecasters expect little movement from the storm over the next few days as the Gulf of Mexico continues to feed in moisture. / US National Hurricane Center

The National Weather Service said more than two feet (600 millimetres) of rain fell in Houston and nearby Galveston in a 24-hour period. Another 20 inches (500 millimetres) were expected .

Flooding was expected to worsen as Harvey, the most powerful storm to hit the United States mainland since 2005, lingers over the area.

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Vocabulary

  • aftermath: the effects and results of something bad or important - ผลที่ตามมา
  • air: to broadcast; to send out a programme on television or radio - ออกอากาศ, กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
  • ashore: on land; towards, onto or on land, having come from an area of water such as the sea or a river - บนบก, เทียบฝั่ง, เกยฝั่ง
  • attic (noun): a room or space just below the roof of a house, often used for storing things - ห้องใต้หลังคา
  • battle: to try very hard to achieve something difficult or to deal with something unpleasant or dangerous - ต่อสู้, ดิ้นรนต่อสู้, มุ่งมั่นฝ่าฟัน
  • billion: the number 1,000,000,000 - พันล้าน
  • Category 4 (noun): (of a tropical hurricane or typhoon) having winds from 209km/h to 251km/h -
  • climate change (noun): the gradual change in the world's weather that has resulted in dangerous storms and flooding - การเปลี่ยนแปลงสภาพทางภูมิอากาศ
  • collapse: to fall down suddenly - พังลงมา  ล้ม, พังครืน
  • commercial: for business purposes - เกี่ยวกับการค้า
  • crash (verb): to collide, to hit something else with force - ชน
  • crazy (adj): not sensible - บ้า
  • dam: a wall built across a river to stop the water from flowing, especially in order to create a lake or to help to produce electric power - เขื่อน
  • damage (noun): physical harm caused to something which makes it less attractive, useful or valuable - ความเสียหาย
  • deadly (adj): causing or likely to cause death - เป็นอันตรายถึงตายได้
  • double back (verb): to turn back and go in the direction you have come from - กลับไปทางเดิม
  • dramatically: in a big way - อย่างใหญ่หลวง
  • effort: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม
  • emergency: an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary - เหตุฉุกเฉิน
  • evacuate: to cause to leave a place because it is not safe - เคลื่อนย้ายออกจาก
  • evacuee: a person who leaves a place of danger - ผู้อพยพ
  • fatalities (noun): deaths caused by an illness, accident, natural disaster crime or war - การเสียชีวิต
  • ferocious: very strong; very aggressive or violent - รุนแรง
  • fled (past of flee): escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there - หนีไป
  • flooding (noun): a large amount of water covering an area that is usually dry - น้ำท่วม
  • forecast (verb): to say what you think will happen in the future based on information that you have now - ทำนาย, ทาย, พยากรณ์
  • forecaster: someone whose job is to make a statement about what is likely to happen, especially relating to the weather - นักพยากรณ์(อากาศ)
  • governor: a person who is chosen to be in charge of the government of a state or province or a government agency - ผู้ว่าการรัฐ, ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด
  • hamstring (past: hamstrung): to limit the amount of something that can be done or the ability or power of someone to do something - ทำให้ไร้กำลัง
  • head for: to go in a particular direction - มุ่งหน้าไปทาง
  • hurricane: a violent storm with very strong winds, especially in the western Atlantic Ocean - พายุเฮอริเคน
  • in harm's way (idiom): in danger - ตกอยู่ในภาพอันตราย
  • inflict: to cause something bad to happen to someone or something - ทำให้เสียหาย
  • inland: in a direction towards the middle of a country; away from the coast - ห่างจากชายฝั่ง, ซึ่งอยู่ภายในประเทศ
  • inundated: flooded - ถูกน้ำท่วม, จมลงใต้น้ำ
  • isolated: alone with no one to support you - โดดเดี่ยว
  • level: the amount of liquid that there is in a container, which can be seen by how high the liquid is - ระดับ
  • linger: to stay somewhere longer than is necessary or required - อ้อยอิ่ง
  • local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
  • mainland: a large mass of land that forms the main part of a country but does not include any islands belonging to the country - แผ่นดินใหญ่
  • massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต
  • midweek (noun): in the middle of the week, i.e., Tuesday through Thursday -
  • moisture: an amount of water or another liquid in the air, on the surface of something, or in a substance - ความชื้น
  • monster: unusually large - ใหญ่โตมาก, มหึมา, มโหฬาร
  • nightmare: an extremely unpleasant event or experience or possible event or experience; a very upsetting or frightening dream - ฝันร้าย
  • operator (noun): a person who works on the telephone switchboard of a large company or organization, especially at a telephone exchange - พนักงานต่อโทรศัพท์
  • overpass: a bridge that carries a road or railway over another road - สะพานข้าม
  • overwhelm: to be in such great amount that a person cannot deal with it - ท่วมท้น
  • patients (noun): people who are receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้
  • pressure: a force pressing against something - ความกดดัน
  • prevention: preventing something bad from happening - การป้องกันภ้ย
  • put up with: to accept something/somebody that is annoying, unpleasant, etc. without complaining - สู้ทน
  • rapidly: happening quickly - อย่างรวดเร็ว
  • release (verb): to let something move freely; to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere - ปล่อย
  • rescue: saving a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - การช่วยชีวิต
  • reservoir: a natural or artificial lake where water is stored - อ่างเก็บน้ำ
  • resident: a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้พักอาศัย, ผู้อยู่อาศัยในบริเวณ  ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • residents: people who live in a particular area - ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • rooftop: the outside surface of the roof of a building - หลังคา
  • schedule: a list showing the times at which particular events will happen - ตารางเวลา
  • span: the amount of time that something lasts - ช่วงเวลา
  • spill: (of a liquid) to come or fall out of a container - หกล้น
  • spokesman: a person who speaks on behalf of a group or an organization - โฆษก
  • stall (verb): to stop making progress; to stop something from happening until a later date - หยุด
  • suspend: to stop for a period of time - ยกเลิกชั่วคราว, ระงับชั่วคราว
  • torrents: large amounts of water flowing rapidly and violently - กระแสน้ำเชี่ยว,การไหลพุ่
  • tropical storm (noun): the first level of dangerous storm: "A tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds between 34 knots (39 mph) and 64 knots (74 mph). (Source: Wikipedia) - พายุโซนร้อน, พายุดีเปรสชันที่มีกำลังแรงขึ้น เกิดขึ้นในเขตร้อน ความเร็วลมบริเวณใกล้ศูนย์กลางประมาณ 70-120 กิโลเมตรต่อชั่วโมง [พจนานุกรมศัพท์ สสวท.]
  • unconfirmed: that has not yet been proved to be true or confirmed -
  • unleash: to release suddenly a strong, uncontrollable and usually destructive force - ปล่อย, ก่อให้เกิดผลรุนแรง
  • unprecedented: never having happened before - ที่ไม่เคยเกิดขึ้นมาก่อน
  • waist: the middle part of the body that is narrower than the parts above and below   - เอว
  • warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
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