Beleaguered residents of Houston were told to climb onto their rooftops and wait to be rescued, as the city experienced perhaps its most extreme rainfall ever, triggering warnings of catastrophic flooding with worse to come.
At least five people were killed and thousands of residents inundated the emergency services as Tropical Storm Harvey dropped up to 30 inches of rain overnight, leading to widespread flash flooding and a series of dramatic rescues. Some reports said it may be a once-in-500-years event. Local TV footage showed dozens of people wading through waist-high water, pushing children in inflatable boats before them.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said emergency services had received 2,000 calls and defended the decision not to order an evacuation. He said there was unprecedented flooding in an area with 6m people. “You can’t just drop six million people on the road,” he said. “If you think this is bad, you imagine an evacuation.”