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As flood waters rise in Houston, the city warns victims to get on their roofs

Harvey-related flooding is catastrophic.

Hurricane Harvey Slams Into Texas Gulf Coast
Hurricane Harvey is expected to dump up to 40 inches of rain in Texas in the next few days.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Hurricane Harvey may have been officially downgraded to a tropical storm. But for residents of Houston, Texas, the distinction may be a semantic one. The rainfall in the area caused by Harvey — at the time of landfall the most powerful hurricane in the U.S. in over a decade — has led to catastrophic flooding across the city of 6.5 million people.

According to the National Weather Service Sunday morning, Houston received over 24 inches of rain in a twenty-four hour period. At least five people across the region have been killed in flood-related incidents, and the City of Houston Twitter account is reporting that its 911 service is at capacity.

As of Sunday morning, the National Weather Service Houston is asking residents in need to wait on their roofs for assistance.

The flooding in Houston has been intensified by the area’s weak building zone regulations, which have resulted in thousands of homes being built alongside creeks or bayous, or on floodplains.

The flooding is expected to worsen as Harvey continues into the week. "It's going to last four to five days," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a press conference.