Amid desperate efforts to save stranded citizens - police report over 3,000 rescues alone - and the arrival of the so-called 'cajun navy' to assist, Harvey continues to pummel Texas, paralyzing Houston as the region braces for yet more rain after the Tropical Storm recharged over warm waters and heading back in-land.
“This is, if not the largest, it has to be categorized as one of the largest disasters America has ever faced,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Houston's main water-way, Buffalo Bayou, shows over 30 inches of rain and it's about to get a lot worse. Buffalo Bayou is the main waterway that snakes through the heart of Houston, and the water levels of two reservoirs that feed into it are particularly concerning.
“The reality is the water is continuing to rise,” Mr. Turner said. “The water level along Buffalo Bayou in all likelihood will increase.”
Forecasters say Harvey will move slowly to the northeast throughout the week and shower some parts of the state with another 15 to 20 inches of rainfall by the end of Thursday. Additionally, The Post reports that certain areas to the west of Houston could see as much as 50 inches of rain by the time the storm is over — which would be the largest recorded total in Texas history.
The death toll remains unclear.
WSJ notes that on Monday evening, Mayor Sylvester Turner said three deaths in Houston had occurred during the storm but could not confirm reports that a family of six had died in their vehicle.
Authorities said they fear the death toll will rise.
Roads surrounding Houston’s Vintage and Sugar Land hospitals “have eight feet of water,” said Michael Covert, senior vice president of Catholic Health Initiatives’s Texas operations. “They have become islands of humanity.”
Citizen rescuers also jumped in to help fellow residents, using private motor boats and even kayaks to ferry stranded people to safety as thousands poured into shelters around the state.
With waters continuing to rise, some people panicked as they waited for rescue.
“They’re making it difficult for us to rescue them,” said Clyde Cain, a member of the Louisiana-based Cajun Navy rescue force. “You have people rushing the boat. Everyone wants to get in at the same time. They’re panicking. Water is rising.”
FEMA officials said they expected to see at least 30,000 people show up to shelters by the end of the slow-moving storm.
“It is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the lives and safety of people across the state of Texas as we continue to face the aftermath of this storm,” Gov. Abbott said.
President Trump will touch down in Corpus Christi, Texas, at noon Tuesday to survey the flood damage with his wife, Melania. “Protecting the lives of our people is my highest priority,” he said at a press conference Monday. “Every asset at my command is at the disposal of local officials.” ...
Leaving now for Texas!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2017
Meanwhile, The Post reports that FEMA Administrator Brock Long said he expects about 450,000 people will file for disaster relief, adding the agency will “be here for several years helping you guys recover.”
“There are several factors that make it worse than Katrina. For one, there is the scope of the flooding. Harris County and the surrounding areas are so saturated,” Brown told the Houston Chronicle.
“Also, the amount of damages will continue to grow. There will be mold and structural damages adding up.” Brown said when Tropical Storm Harvey finally goes away, it will leave an incredible bill for taxpayers to pick up.
“This will be unfathomably expensive for both the private sector and taxpayers,” Brown said. “This will be easily the most expensive natural disaster in American history.”
One look at this image and we suspect his unprecedented statement may still be understatement...