Published on : Thursday, July 5, 2018
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Houston area through the late afternoon Wednesday and warned residents to avoid flooded streets.
Short bursts of heavy rainfall amounting to three to four inches within an hour hit Houston and flood the area, Ken Clark, an expert meteorologist at AccuWeather, tells TIME.
The significant flooding comes as a result of these flash floods and heavy downpours, not overflowing water from nearby rivers and waterways. Clark said that it is not possible to drain that much water that quickly.
The rain is expected to lighten up later in the evening that could make it possible for residents to view the planned Fourth of July fireworks.
As of Wednesday afternoon, most of the city’s Fourth of July festivities were canceled, but officials were holding out hope they could still launch the fireworks display.
Local media captured videos of firefighters, police and residents saving vehicles stalled in the high flood waters.
Videos shared on social media showed cars driving the flooding and people navigating through them knee-high waters.
Local businesses and popular destinations for Independence Day activities in the area appeared closed up shop as a result of the flooding. The Houston Zoo tweeted it would close and bring its animals inside for the remainder of the day, and a number of parades in the area were cancelled, too.