George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and Hobby (HOU) airports in Texas have been closed, along with four smaller airfields across the state, due to flooding of the runways and surrounding roads caused by Hurricane Harvey. The storm has dumped unprecedented amounts of water on the fourth largest city in the United States of America, has stranded and left thousands homeless, and has led to nine deaths. So far between 15 and 30 inches (38-76cm) of rain has fallen across southern parts of the state, with as much as 50 inches (127cm) expected in some areas before the precipitation abates.
Southwest Airlines had 15 Boeing 737s at HOU when it closed, but was allowed to fly 500 stranded passengers out to Dallas Love Field in five of the aircraft on August 27 while its remaining aircraft left the following day. Other carriers including United Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Delta Air Lines have been authorised to operate a few flights into the area which also carried passengers who were in the terminal buildings out of IAH, while American Airlines flew its crews out of the area.
Hobby is likely to remain closed until 1300GMT (0700AM local) on August 30, while Houston Intercontinental is currently expected to reopen at 1700GMT (1100AM local) on the following day. The other airfields affected are Mustang Beach in Port Aransas (KRAS, expected to reopen 0600 local on August 29), Jack Brooks Regional in Port Arthur (KBPR, until 0500 local on August 29), Sugar Land Regional in the outskirts of Houston (KSGR, until 1800 local on August 29) and Houston Executive (KTME, until 1800 local on August 30).
Photo: Southwest Airlines is the biggest user of Houston Hobby Airport. The airfield has been flooded by rainfall from Hurricane Harvey (LoneStarMike)