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The worst of the thunderstorms expected to slam the Houston area will continue until at least 1 a.m. while packing the potential for heavy rain, according to forecasters. The storms could linger through Saturday.
While much of the forecast remains uncertain, officials say the storms would start by early evening, and that the rain will fall heavily and quickly. Jeff Lindner, meteorologist for Harris County, said areas could expect two to six inches of rain Thursday night.
By 7:45 p.m., at least an inch of rain had fallen at Cypress Creek at Katy-Hockley Road, Lindner said. A flash flood warning was issued for northwest Houston until 9:30 p.m., officials said.
A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for several counties, including Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Waller and Liberty.
“The areas that have already been impacted where water has already saturated the earth are at higher risk of flooding,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.
The flood threat even prompted Mayor Sylvester Turner to warn Astros fans from attending tonight’s 7:10 p.m. game against the Texas Rangers.
“If you’re not living fairly close to the stadium, this may be one of those evenings where you might want to reconsider,” Turner said Thursday afternoon. “My concern would be getting home and the number of people that will be on the road getting home.
“Today is maybe a day to have a happy hour at home,” he added.
Assets from the county and state have already been deployed. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department has dispatched officers, high water rescue vehicles, boats and an aircraft across the area.
Street flooding and overflowing bayous are near certainties, Turner said. Officials urged residents to stay at home Thursday night, and warned against driving through water, driving around barricades and parking on streets.
“The reason why we’re standing together is that this weather event that is moving into our area is a very serious one and everyone needs to take it very serious,” Turner said.
Drivers encountering wet roads are asked to slow down and keep a good distance between other vehicles in traffic. When encountering flooded roadways, drivers are urged to turn around and find another route.
On Friday, an additional one to two inches of rain will fall until the overnight hours.
HIGH-WATER RESCUES: Readers share photos of severe flooding across Houston
The timing of those thunderstorms on Friday is uncertain, although NWS has issued a continuous flash flood watch for the entire Southeast Texas area starting 1 p.m. Thursday until Saturday night.
Jay R. Jordan covers breaking news in the Houston area. Read him on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and our subscriber site, HoustonChronicle.com | Follow him on Twitter at @JayRJordan | Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org | Text CHRON to 77453 to receive breaking news alerts by text message