Flash flooding in Houston as severe weather strikes

UPDATE: 2:13 p.m. CT

Flash flooding is occurring in and around the greater Houston area as severe weather hits southeast Texas. Chains of storms with lightning, heavy rains and possible tornadoes have inundated the region, leaving the streets like virtual rivers and causing problems on the highways.

Streets in southwest Houston quickly turned into rivers as Tuesday's string of severe storms battered Harris County and southeast Texas.

Streets in southwest Houston quickly turned into rivers as Tuesday’s string of severe storms battered Harris County and southeast Texas.

Emma Balter/Chron

Houstonians shared a video of the rising waters on their Twitter accounts Tuesday afternoon.

As of this writing, severe weather continues to sweep east and north through downtown Houston into the neighboring suburbs.

Residents are advised to stay off roads and stay in sheltered location as the system moves through southeast Texas.

— End of update —

UPDATE: 1:05 p.m. CT

A flood watch is in effect for Harris County, Fort Bend, Waller, Austin and Montgomery counties as severe weather continues Tuesday in southeast Texas.

The advisory is issued until 3:00 pm CT and includes Humble, Kingwood, Greater Heights, Montrose, River Oaks and other sections of Houston proper and beyond the loop.

Houston ISD has canceled its extracurricular activities amid deteriorating weather conditions Tuesday afternoon.

— End of update —

UPDATE: 11:37 a.m. CT

A tornado danger indicating that an imminent tornado formation has been issued for the Tomball, Texas area, including Kohrville.

The NWS has indicated that up to a quarter hail could also fall on the area.

— End of update —

UPDATE: 11:10 a.m. CT

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Katy, Texas, as well as Brookshire and Simonton, Texas.

A tornado has been detected on NWS radar and pea-sized hail is possible in the region. Those in the area should seek shelter and await further instructions.

— End of update —

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Harris County and the surrounding region in response to a series of strong storms that swept through southeast Texas on Tuesday.

Powered by a winter storm that crossed North Texas Monday night, the cold front is expected to bring heavy rain, high winds, and possible tornado activity to the Houston area this morning and afternoon. The potential formation of super storm cells capable of spawning tornadoes inspired the NWS to issue Tuesday’s watch advisory.

“Given strong low-level shear, a strong tornado is possible,” indicated a pre-watch analysis issued by the NWS Storm Prediction Center at 10:16 am CT. “Large hail and damaging wind gusts are also possible. As a result, a Tornado Watch will be needed along the mid/upper TX coast [and] far southwest [Louisiana].”

This morning, Eric Berger of Space City Weather noted that, while generally unlikely, today’s cold front is accompanied by atmospheric conditions conducive to the formation of tornadoes and other severe weather events.

“Today there is a lot of instability, lift and shear in the atmosphere,” Berger wrote Tuesday. “Many of the parameters we look for for tornado activity are lighting up, especially for areas along and south of Interstate 10. But that being said, the general environment is not ideal for tornado formation… just supportive.”

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Katy at 10:45 a.m. warning residents of the potential quarter-size hail that could accompany the storms as they move into the area.

The main part of Tuesday’s severe weather is likely to pass through Harris County from late morning until 4 p.m. one and three inches in the area before your exit.

We will continue to provide updates on the system as the day progresses.