With the news this afternoon that Tropical Storm Humberto had formed in the Gulf of Mexico and was due to come ashore east of Galveston tonight and tomorrow morning, I naturally thought of Tropical Storm Allison, which hit the Houston area at the beginning of June, 2001 and which is the last tropical storm or hurricane to hit the Houston area. Those of you who lived in Houston at the time will recall that it wasn't the wind with Allison, it was the rain. The system got stuck over the area, dumping large quantities of rain day after day, until Friday night, June 8, when just about all the bayous flowing through central Houston flooded and turned downtown and significant portions of the metropolitan area into one big lake. The freeways inside the loop were flooded, too, at least along the sections that are below grade. My most enduring memory, however, was footage from a news helicopter showing a Budweiser truck stopped on I-10, flooded up almost to the top of its trailer, with the trailer door broken open and a beer can sitting on top. Someone swam through the flood waters out to the truck, broke in, and enjoyed a stolen beer while sitting on top of the trailer. The picture above was taken by Dan Wallach of that truck after the waters had receded a bit. He has a number of other pictures, too, all of which are still amazing to me, even after more than six years.
Update: Similar to what happened with Hurricane Rita two years ago, Humberto turned east and came ashore near the Golden Triangle early this morning. The extra time over water allowed it to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane. Eric Berger from the Houston Chronicle reports that winds in Orange haven't gotten too high. Let's hope that the principal problem continues to be with rain, not wind. We can handle ten inches of rain; hurricane-force winds, not so much.