SPECIAL REPORT: Harvey: 'Unprecedented' flooding hits Houston area

"This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation," the NWS said.
9:35 | 08/27/17

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Transcript for SPECIAL REPORT: Harvey: 'Unprecedented' flooding hits Houston area
This is an ABC news special report. Hurricane Harvey state of emergency. Good afternoon I'm Dan Harris at ABC news headquarters in New York where interrupting regularly scheduled a program to bring you the breaking news the disaster in Texas in the wake of hurricane Harvey now tropical storm Barbary. Is deepening at this hour the National Weather Service releasing. An incredible tweet saying this event is unprecedented. And beyond anything experience. Houston which is. America's fourth largest city is in crisis heavy rain. Falling overnight. And now flooding large parts of their greater metropolitan area more than a thousand rescues is already. Taking place the 911 system there overwhelm teams around the country are rushing in to help. At least three people thus far have died. Let's start here would ABC's Victor candor was right there in Houston Victor what are you seeing what are they telling you. Well then right now we're getting hit by one of those bands and has been the case. All day launch is really coming down and this. Houston under water at this moment we'll watch the situation go from god to worsen starting early this morning I just to be an example we are walking through a parking lot at one point and within an hour walking a lot of what they're clearly. In an hour it was up to our knees in that was just in the parking lot roads in the surrounding area turned into rivers. Water basically waist high situation has been very bad here we just heard from the Coast Guard minutes ago. That they've already rescued 100 people from the air but they've had some 500 distress calls come in. That situation right here in Houston where it has just been unprecedented amount of rainfall in a very short period of time. Bit Victor given the defecting you've got these bands of heavy rain moving through. What is that doing yet to the ability of their rescue workers to do their jobs insert to save people. Government and it's only making their jobs even more difficult than it already dire situation here. Thousands of rescues taking place as we speak right now. The roads are just an absolute nightmare everyone here's been warned to stay inside stay off the roads. What people have been told them Coast Guard reiterated this moment ago do not try to hide in your attic if your house is. Completely compromised. You need to be your best to either -- the roof or get out we'll stay on top of the roof so that crews from the air can be able to see you and get to hear from there as you just mentioned with one of these heavy bands just. Raining down earnest right now that's got to makers jobs even more difficult. And what makes this even more complicated and dangerous is the fact that. There are tornado watches and warnings that have been popping up throughout this area so. Going to the attic was what while dangerous from a flooding perspective can also be dangerous because that's the first part of the house to be destroyed when a tornado moves through Victor very quickly before we let you go. And the mayor there has facing pretty tough questions about the fact that he told people not to evacuate after the governor had recommended they do. What is the mayor saying about that right now. Will the mayor's basically defending his decision to tell people not to evacuate just to give to the back story on police part of the reason why he said people should not evacuate. He cited 2005. And hurricane read and that nightmarish deadly gridlock that costs were so many people tried to flee the city. At the exact same time that led to accidents medical emergencies. And 100 people ended up dying while evacuating more people died while evacuating them from the hurricane itself seems trying to avoid that. We knew that this is going to be a flooding event all along that's what the city had prepared for however this amount of rainfall on rusher if anybody have seen something bistro coming. They're looking at upwards of forty injured perhaps in some spots over these coming days. And let's move it out now to ABC senior meteorologist rob Marciano has been covering. Harvey since it made landfall on Friday night. Rob is in Rosenberg. Texas near a giant sinkhole. Rob let me just start before he tells but the simple he just start by asking you about the forecast at this point what makes. This storm so dangerous when compared to other hurricanes is that it's stuck in place. And that doesn't appear to be leaving the neighborhood anytime soon to what is the forecast for the already waterlogged Houston at this point. Multi days of of more rain but it did give you the easy answer of where stuck in between steering currents. The different. We're always comparing a storm her true tropical storm Allison back in 2001. Which set all the records here in Houston and was absolutely devastating. Which attributed it is kind of meander around like this storm is doing to differences this storm was a category four. When it came onshore so it is that much stronger it has that much more. Expense to it and that much more flow and rainfall to a so we've Horry received two feet plus of rain. In the Houston area we expect to see at least another foot maybe two more feet before it's all done. On Wednesday so we're gonna have things like what's behind me Dan saint call happened a lot more often this is Rosenberg at about forty miles southwest of Houston we just can't upon us we were. Are riding up here with the help our. ABC station infusion ABC thirteen KT RK they're putting us up borrow their equipment to show you as we don't want to get too close because we we're we're hearing. And you hear you again you a slumping off of of the dirt and the pavement this is a growing cinco what it is it's usually just a small creek. That comes under underneath this road. It's got out pipe a Colbert that says about four feet wide. That has broken loose and this piece of infrastructure now is is dot so. Of greater concern beyond this we'll see more this in the coming days is that use this area of Houston is between two larger rivers. And as a rise here we get more rain and the next couple days get that the creeks. Well then. Gotta succumbed to the larger rivers which will then swell. And make big Nady made in combined down in this area. And so it may be completely underwater one of the issues with Houston but this huge huge strip malls lot of concrete definition of urban sprawl vast this water. Has no place to go. One of many reasons that Houston floods so easily amend it but 234 feet out of rain on top of that just it's a nightmare and that's what we're during right now. As a judge to put a fine point on this rather. You don't. Think that the city. And the surrounding area is gonna get a break from this rain anytime soon we're looking at you. Media and of the day Wednesday. That's right hopefully the beginning today Wednesday they aren't. There is a chance that we start to see some of eight these bands kind of shift we'll see intermittent breaks this is I would consider this to be a break right here. All but by generally speaking it's going to be on and off periods of heavier rain. Where this circulation of Harvey go is where we're not quite sure about that but is where these bands set up and for the past 1218 hours they've been set up directly over Houston and they've been very very wide so we need him to strike. And we need him in the shaft and only mother nature can tell us that the next 36 of 48 hours. CNN meteorologist rob Marciano reporting from Rosenberg Texas route thank you let's quickly get it over to ABC's either program was on the road. In a moving car about forty miles outside of Houston. Evil what are you seem. I'm can't well. A lot of water had been thinking. It's not on the road where we're driving right now but you can see the water is pushing right. Period it's right out here and pass it right this agency in the. Journey that we make even starting yesterday and Tony going down inventory and heading east towards Houston we have seen water crossing parts of the and dwindling down you can cross and others in the plains where we're being very careful not crossing through anyone and we. Very careful about that we are seeing a lot of water right to the edge of roads and right into the edge of a lot of homes. And seeing people who are still in a lot of those films of course everyone here just waiting and watching. Divas thank you let's come back in the studio now meteorologist Kate Parker with me in front of the weather while here to wanna go over this tweet which is extraordinary from the National Weather Service this event is unprecedented. And all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced. Jack good player saying well fort. Cats unfortunately is playing out exactly as we got a blood so we're seeing this massive influx of water. That's not stopping its more than wesun tropical storm Allison which is really the benchmark this form of record. Well we're seeing those levels and the rivers and bio is there they're over topping that so we don't know what to expect because we've never seen flooding on this level. The National Weather Service saying this is days still to go. But these rain bands that are moving in off the gulf right over the same area it's just going to keep dumping rain in Houston your only chance for a brake is between brain damage that's. It's is a dire event when I spoke this morning. Tuesday police chief and Houston he said it's a 500. Year flood for them. K Parker thank you very much want to thank you for joining us for this special report ABC news will of course. Stay on top of this unfolding crisis throughout the day with all the latest developments coming up later. On world news tonight and of course at any time on abcnews.com. For now. I'm Dan Harris in New York. This has been a special report from ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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