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Tropical Storm Allison

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This article is about the tropical storm of 2001. For other storms of the same name, see Hurricane Allison (disambiguation).

Template:Infobox hurricane

Tropical Storm Allison was a tropical storm that devastated southeast Texas in 2001. It was one of the deadliest and most destructive storms of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season, killing 41 people across the United States and causing over $5 billion in damage in Houston.

The tropical storm formed just off the Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico on June 5, 2001. With sustained winds at around 60 miles per hour (96 km/h), well below the threshold of hurricane strength, the storm was not expected to cause much damage. Coastal flooding affected Galveston and Kemah as Allison made landfall. Houston sustained moderate flooding at first, which began to recede as the storm's remains drifted north toward Lufkin.

On June 8, however, the storm system made an unexpected turn and by nightfall had stalled directly over central Houston. This second period of rain overwhelmed all of the city's bayous, sluggish streams vital to drainage in the flat region. Many areas reported upwards of 10 in. (25 cm) of rain while the Port of Houston's rain total reached 37 in. (94 cm) of rain by the morning of June 9.

Over two hundred thousand customers were without electrical power at some point during the disaster. Several hospitals at the Texas Medical Center had to evacuate their patients in total darkness after flood waters disabled emergency power generators in the basement. Also, thousands of laboratory animals at the Baylor College of Medicine perished, destroying years of medical research.

In Downtown Houston, many of the tunnels that are part of the underground tunnel system connecting buildings were completely submerged, as were many streets and parking garages. A woman drowned in an elevator in the Bank of America Center as she tried to retrieve her car. The Theatre District lost millions of dollars of property. TV stations ran all-night coverage of the deluge, including KHOU-TV 11, which was forced to cut off its broadcast when floodwaters swamped the station's studio. As a result, the station was forced to transmit its signal through a satellite truck. By midnight every major road into the city was underwater, forcing hundreds of motorists in this commuter city to abandon their vehicles.

Over seventy thousand buildings reported flood damage, some in neighborhoods that had never flooded in history. Twenty-two people died in the Houston area.

After leaving Houston, Allison's remnants pummeled east Texas and southern Louisiana, causing flooding in Beaumont, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. The system would cause more flooding and deaths as far away as Pennsylvania before dissipating in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Allison is the only tropical system ever to have its name retired without ever reaching hurricane strength.

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