UPDATE with Astros returning Saturday: The NFL today canceled Thursday’s preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, with the priority in south Texas still the unprecedented flooding following Hurricane Harvey. NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo said the game was scrapped so Texans players can get back to Houston to be with their families and help with relief efforts.
Later in the day, Major League Baseball announced that the Houston Astros will return home Saturday for a three-game series with the New York Mets at Minute Maid Park as the rain is finally stopping in the region. The Astros and Texas Rangers’ series was moved this week to Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL; the second game of that series is at 7 ET tonight.
Team officials said they hoped the games — a doubleheader Saturday and a game Sunday — would provide a distraction for beleaguered fans who have been dealing with record flooding after Harvey made landfall Friday.
The Cowboys and Texans had been scheduled to play at Houston’s NRG Stadium, which so far has been spared damage from the massive storm and its aftermath. The Texans had been practicing at Dallas’ facility in Frisco this week, and the game was briefly moved to the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington before it was scrapped today.
It is the last week of the NFL preseason schedule, with the regular season kicking off September 7. The Texans’ season starts with a home game September 10 against Jacksonville. No word yet on whether that game would be moved. The New Orleans Saints preseason game Thursday at home against Carolina is still on.
Hurricane Harvey has dropped record rains in the region. The National Weather Service said the storm is moving to the northeast,with Port Arthur, TX facing the brunt of rain and flooding today. An estimated 5 to 6 inches of rain in western Tennessee is expected. Flood watches and warnings have been issued for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.
The death toll so far in Texas stands at 38.