TEXAS BIDS FAREWELL, GOOD RIDDANCE TO ALLISON
June 12, 2001 After drenching southeast Texas for nearly a week, the remnants of Tropical Storm Allison have moved on leaving a wide swath of death and destruction in the storm's wake. At least 17 deaths have been confirmed in the Houston (Harris County) area and several people are still missing. With damage estimates beginning at $1 billion and expected to rise over the next several days, Allison has become the costliest Tropical Storm in the nation's history. The estimate easily surpasses the $500 million in damage caused by Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 and Tropical Storm Alberto in 1994. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view.)
According to NOAA's National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Allison is also the third wettest on record for Texas. During the week, Allison poured a total of 35.94 inches on the Greens Bayou area in northeast Harris County. That total is surpassed only by the 45 inch total in Alvin, Texas, during "Claudette" and the 40 inches that fell on Thrall, Texas, in 1921.
Twenty-eight southeast Texas counties have now been declared disaster areas by President Bush. During the course of the event, local, state and federal emergency management personnel and the Texas Army National Guard handled more than 4,000 high water rescues. The Texas Division of Emergency Management estimates more than15,000 homes and businesses were flooded. Local, state and federal officials are now shifting their focus to damage assessment and clean up efforts.
In Louisiana, the governor has declared states of emergency in 20 of the state's 64 parishes where more than 500 homes have been damaged by flood waters. Since the storm began, significant rainfall amounts have ranged from 8 to 20 inches in the southern parishes, with an estimated two feet of rain recorded on the Thibodaux area, south of New Orleans.
Warning residents about the dangers of flooding from land-falling storms remains a high priority of the weather service.
"We don't want people to be caught off guard to the threat of fresh water flooding," said Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service Southern Region. "People who attempt to drive through flooded areas often find the swift waters will carry them to their demise. Flash flooding is one of our major natural disaster killers. To avoid tragedy, never drive into a water-covered roadway and be prepared to follow detour and evacuation orders."
The National Weather Service said deep tropical moisture associated with the remnants of Allison will continue to impact the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Tallahassee. The remnants will move north and east over the next several days bringing some needed precipitation to drought-plagued states in the southeast.
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