NWS extends flash flood warning for Galveston, Chambers, Brazoria counties

View The Original Article Here

Galveston, Brazoria and Chambers counties were under a flash flood warning Monday as residents of Southeast Texas braced for more rain and localized flooding.

Parts of Chambers County had already seen close to 10 inches of rain by midday, the National Weather Service said. A flash flood watch for Chambers, Matagorda, Brazoria and Galveston counties has been extended until 12 p.m. Tuesday.

Meteorologists predicted 2 to 4 inches of rain in Greater Houston, with higher amounts in isolated areas.

The Harris County Flood Control District warned the hardest-hit areas were likely to be south of Interstate 10 and east of Interstate 45.

In Galveston, downpours caused flooding along one of the island’s main thoroughfares, The Strand, prompting businesses to close until the water subsided. The city urged disembarking cruise ship passengers to drive south on Harborside Drive, take a left at 51st Street and then a right on Broadway to safely leave the island.

A high tide exacerbated the flooding, which was 6 to 10 inches deep in places, said Public Works Director Kyle Hockersmith.

“There’s two locations where the flooding is severe enough to where smaller, low-profile vehicles will probably flood out,” Hockersmith said.

Hockersmith called in his entire 86-person crew to barricade some streets and prepare for more rain through Monday evening.

“It’s all hands on deck,” he said.

At 11:30 a.m., bartender Bhuji Garcia waited for his first customer of the day at Murphy’s Pub on 22nd Street, a block from The Strand. Each time a vehicle passed in the floodwaters, its wake lapped against the bar.

“Anybody bold enough to come in through this, I’ll take care of them,” Garcia said.

The city of Houston opened its emergency operations center on Monday morning to monitor the storms as well as Tropical Storm Gordon, which recently formed off the southern tip of Florida. Forecasters predict that storm to make landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi by mid-week, but the system could bring more rain to southeast Texas.

On the last federal holiday, Independence Day, more than 7 inches of rain drenched parts of Harris County. The storms flooded some roads and forced the city of Houston to cancel its Fourth of July concerts in Buffalo Bayou Park.

Zach Despart covers Harris County for the Chronicle. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at zach.despart@chron.com.