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. Between 2-4 inches of rain have fallen in those counties, and substantial rainfall 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
Late Tuesday and into Wednesday, between 3-5 inches of rain had fallen. Life-threatening flash flooding was ongoing or expected to begin shortly in creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses.
Meanwhile in Louisiana, authorities were investigating five deaths related to the weather.
Three of those deaths were people 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.
“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.
The vehicle left the road and into a canal where it sunk, state police said in a news release.
Extreme rainfall closely linked with the climate crisis
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.
This is leading to more 1-in-5-, 1-in-10-, 1-in-100-year-type extreme rainfall events that lead to catastrophic flash flooding.
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.
Louisiana has experienced extreme, climate-fueled rainfall before with disastrous consequences, such as in 2016 when deadly flash floods were studied by scientists and found to have been made at least 40% more likely and 12% to 35% more intense because of human greenhouse gas emissions.