Remembering Tropical Storm Allison

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HOUSTON (CW39) – 20 years ago (June 5-9th 2001) Tropical Storm Allison impacted southeastern Texas and brought devastation throughout the Houston area. Allison made landfall west of Galveston, with sustained winds of 50 miles per hour. Of course, this was just a precursor to what happened during Harvey 6 years later, but it did tech us that the categorization of storms doesn’t always directly correlate to damaging impacts. Allison was a tropical storm, not even of hurricane magnitude, and dropped nearly 40 inches of rain through portions of Texas.  

41 people lost their lives in the storm, 23 from Texas alone. Many were left, flooded, and homeless in Allison’s wake. Of those, 19 were related to driving or walking through flood waters.   

Allison remains sub-tropical for 16 days. This was due to what we call the “brown ocean effect”. Most of the time hurricanes and tropical storms feed off the warm gulf waters as fuel. However, during the landfall of Tropical Storm Allison, the land and soil moisture content was so warm and humid, it acted as a fuel source to the storm allowing it to maintain its strength and continue to produce life threatening rain across southeastern Texas and the Louisiana coast. Greens Bayous at Mt. Houston Parkway picked up over 38 inches of rain over the course of June 5-10th.  

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