Monday, August 28, 2017

Reports: Harvey’s flooding rampage continues in Texas, Louisiana as family of 6 feared dead

By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
August 28,2017, 8:42:20PM,EDT
 As of 9 p.m. CDT Sunday, this reports story is no longer being updated. For continuous live updates of Harvey, click here.

As Harvey continues to dump heavy rainfall over Texas, southwestern Louisiana now faces a threat of flooding from the slow-moving storm.
The former Category 4 hurricane has battered the Texas coast with destructive winds and drenching downpours following landfall on Aug. 25. Widespread and unprecedented flooding is ongoing in the Houston, Texas, area, with thousands of water rescues completed and tens of thousands of 911 calls placed.
In addition to the devastating flooding in southern Texas, there have also been widespread power outages, isolated tornadoes and at least nine reported deaths as of Monday afternoon.
Harvey is the first major hurricane to impact the United States since Wilma in 2005.

Harvey’s persistent downpours to prolong catastrophic flooding in Texas, Louisiana this week
5 deadliest hurricane-related dangers
Preparing for the costliest weather disaster in the US: How to stay safe before, during and after a flood

Donate now to the United Way to help Harvey victims.

6:05 p.m. CDT Monday: Several professional sports are changing the location of games due to the flooding around Houston. This includes Thursday's NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys, and an MLB series between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros.
"This is believed to be only the fourth time in the history of Major League Baseball that weather concerns have required the relocation of games to a neutral site," the MLB said.

5:15 p.m. CDT Monday: A chemical spill has been reported in LaPorte, Texas, located just east of Houston.
People in LaPorte should avoid the area around the spill and shelter in place.
It is unclear at this time if the spill is related to Harvey.

4:10 p.m. CDT Monday: An ExxonMobil oil refinery near Houston sustained damage from Harvey, forcing it to be shut down.
The damage could cause chemicals to be released into the air, but Exxon expects air emissions linked to the damage to end by Friday, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, another fatality has occurred in Houston after a tree dislodged by heavy rains toppled onto a home. This brings the death toll from Harvey up to nine.
Mon eve flooding pc 1
Some houses around Houston are almost completely submerged in water due to flooding. (Photo/Jeff and Jeanette Harris)

3:25 p.m. CDT Monday: Officials are preparing to evacuate the 350 patients at Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital hospital and transport them to other area hospitals.
Flooding from Harvey has already made its way into the hospital’s basement and is threatening the supply of medicine and food, the Associated Press said.
The Ben Taub Hospital is located near the Brays Bayou which was in major flood stage over the weekend.
Heavy rain continues to fall across the Houston area and is contributing to additional flooding.

2:20 p.m. CDT Monday: Floodwaters from Harvey swept away a van carrying six people in Houston with the occupants feared to be dead. This brings the death toll from the storm up to eight.
Authorities are expecting this number to rise in the coming days as rescue efforts continue.

12:41 p.m. CDT Monday: The voluntary evacuation in Pecan Grove, Texas, has been upgraded to a mandatory evacuation at the request of the Pecan Grove Municipal Utilities District, according to Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management.
evacuations map
A mandatory evacuation has also been issued for people living in low-lying and flood-prone areas of Tyler County.
Deputies from the Harris County Sheriff's Office have rescued more than 2,200 people from flood waters as of Monday afternoon.

11:37 a.m. CDT Monday: Wireless communications service providers including AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are offering support for customers impacted by Harvey.
Texas counties hit hard by cell phone service outages include Aransas (97-percent outage); Calhoun (85.2-percent outage); Refugio (84.6-percent outage); and San Patricio (51.7-percent outage), according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The FCC reports that no cell sites are currently impacted in Louisiana.
Map of cell service outages from Harvey - FCC
This map of the disaster area illustrates which counties are most impacted by wireless service outages. (Photo/Federal Communications Commission)

Some providers have announced free/additional data, text and voice services for pre- and post-paid users affected by the storm through at least Sept. 1, with other providers offering relief through Sept. 8.
Because we appreciate you & want to show our support, FREE DATA for postpaid customers thu Sept. 8. .

11:21 a.m. CDT Monday: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has activated the entire Texas National Guard to assist with Harvey relief efforts.
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,” said Abbott. “The Texas National Guard is working closely with FEMA and federal troops to respond urgently to the growing needs of Texans who have fallen victim to Hurricane Harvey, and the activation of the entire Guard will assist in the efforts already underway. I would like to thank FEMA Administrator Brock Long, as well as all our brave first responders for their hard work in helping those impacted by this terrible storm.”
"While this is still a dangerous situation with a long response effort ahead, the state and people of Texas are resilient," said Long. "FEMA was here before the storm hit, and we will be here as long as needed, actively coordinating the full resources of the federal government, to support Gov. Abbott and the state."
Texas National Guard
Members of the Texas National Guard assist Harvey flooding victims into a vehicle to get them to safety. (Photo/Texas Military Department)

11:02 a.m. CDT Monday: Harvey’s heavy rainfall has inundated two Houston dams. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from those dams to alleviate the high water levels.

The reservoirs' water levels were increasing by more than half a foot per hour by Monday morning, according to Galveston District Commander Col. Lars Zetterstrom.
“If we don’t begin releasing now, the volume of uncontrolled water around the dams will be higher and have a greater impact on the surrounding communities,” Zetterstrom said in a statement.
The district is coordinating floodwater releases from Addicks and Barker reservoirs with the Harris County Control District.
Zetterstrom urged residents living near the reservoirs to “be vigilant,” as waters are rising rapidly.

10:53 a.m. CDT Monday: Among all weather-related natural disasters, floods have been both the most common and most costly in the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. They can create billions of dollars in damage a year and kill hundreds of people.
Houston police have completed over 2,000 water rescues with another 185 requests for help still pending, officials said in a press conference.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has asked residents awaiting rescue to identify themselves by handing a towel or sheet prominently. Officials are also warning against looting as the flooding situation unfolds.

7:57 a.m. CDT Monday: August 2017 is now Houston's wettest month on record, according to the National Weather Service. Harvey drenched the city with 16.07 inches of rain on Sunday, which is the single highest daily rainfall total in Houston's history.

7:33 a.m. CDT Monday: The National Weather Service forecast shows that the Brazos River in Fort Bend County, Texas, will likely crest sometime on Tuesday at an elevation of 59 feet due to rapidly rising flood waters.
Cresting is the highest stage or level of a flood wave as it passes a certain point.
“A flood of this magnitude is an 800-year event and it exceeds the design specifications of our levees,” said County Judge Robert Hebert.
The 59-foot river level is threatening to over top many levees in the area. Judge Hebert has ordered both voluntary and mandatory evacuations for areas along the river, according to the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management.

6:53 a.m. CDT Monday: Law enforcement officials are continuing to conduct water rescues today, and the number of those displaced continues to grow.
FEMA officials said Monday morning that they anticipate over 30,000 people being placed in temporary shelters.

6:30 a.m. CDT Monday: Shelters are currently welcoming people displaced by Harvey. The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston had opened its doors to more than 1,500 people on Sunday evening, according to the Washington Post.
An American Red Cross shelter in Houston was closed Saturday evening due to rising flood waters in the area.
Our Lake Patrol officers have been very active; rescues will continue today

A list of open shelters in the Houston area can be found here. The Red Cross also has a map of open shelters in Texas and Louisiana on their website.

4:10 a.m. CDT Monday: Rainfall totals over the last 72 hours have been released. Some areas in Texas received upwards of 30 inches of rain; Berry B. Forest Oaks in Harris County received 30.56 inches of rain. Some parts of Liberty County got approx. 28 inches.
Harvey rescue AP photo 8.28.17
An unidentified man helps Carlos Torres, in tube, get to dry ground after Torres drove his tractor-trailer into a freeway flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, near downtown Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

3:15 a.m. CDT Monday: Both mandatory and voluntary evacuations are still in effect in the Houston area, including in Conroe and Missouri City. Find the latest evacuations here.
Evacuations 8.28.17
Mandatory and voluntary evacuations are in place across the Houston early Monday, August 28, 2017. (Screen shot/Fort Bend County)

1:30 a.m. CDT Monday: Since Harvey began late Friday night, rainfall totals have risen immensely. Since the beginning of the storm, Smithville, Texas, received 21.88 inches; Huntsville, Texas, got 14.66 inches; and the Houston Intercontinental Airport received over 2 feet, totaling 24.79 inches of rain.

12:50 a.m. CDT Monday:
The Harris County Flood Control has reportedly begun the release of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Officials say the Addicks Reservoir is rising at a rate of 0.85 of an inch per hour.
NWS Corpus Christi WCM John Metz & I conducted first storm survey today of Aransas & San Patricio Counties - unbelievable damage

10:50 p.m. CDT Sunday: Southwest Airlines airlifted about 500 stranded passengers from Houston's Hobby Airport on Sunday, according to CNN. The airport had shut down earlier in the day and is expected to be closed until Wednesday, but the Federal Aviation Administration reportedly gave Southwest special permission to airlift passengers out. It is not clear how many passengers total were stranded at the airport.

Harris County officials reportedly will begin a controlled release of the reservoirs on Monday. The water is expected to flood nearby homes and not flow out for two months.

9:50 p.m. CDT Sunday: Thunderstorm gusts have been reported of 63 and 70 mph around Dalhart, Texas, within the last hour.
Dangerous supercell, likely heading toward Cove, TX at 10 pm CDT! Take shelter in path @breakingweather
Creek crest Harvey 8.27.17
The Cypress Creek near Westfield, TX is expected to crest 8.4 ft above the 1949 record crest early this week. (Photo/NOAA)

8:43 p.m. CDT Sunday: A flash flood emergency has been issued for Houston and surrounding areas until 1:15 a.m. Monday.
Near Sugar Land, Texas, about 30 minutes southwest of Houston, 4-5 inches of rain per hour is currently falling.
Getting rain rates of *2.88 INCHES AN HOUR* at Buffalo Bayou right now. FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY reissued until 1:15 AM
Harvey highway flooding
Two people walk down a flooded section of Interstate 610 in floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

8:34 p.m. CDT Sunday: More than 250,000 customers have been impacted by power outages in Louisiana and Texas as of Sunday night.
Power outages from Harvey

7:50 p.m. CDT Sunday: Several ports along the Texas coast will remain closed on Monday including the Port of Houston and the Port of Galveston.
"All Port Houston facilities will be closed tomorrow, Monday, Aug. 28, due to the continued threat of inclement weather," officials wrote on the port's Facebook page. "We will be continuing to monitor the developing weather conditions to determine whether operations can safely resume on Tuesday. Updates will be provided as more information is available."
Houston's Johnson Space Center will also be closed Monday with the exception of essential personnel.
The Mission Control Center remains operational and fully capable of supporting the International Space Station from Houston," NASA said on its website.

7:19 p.m. CDT Sunday: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has more than 400 Urban Search and Rescue personnel working in South Texas with another 500-plus personnel situated elsewhere in the state.
In addition, the Coast Guard has 420 personnel conducting rescue missions and has deployed 16 helicopters with eight more inbound. The Coast Guard confirmed more than 2,000 rescues of multi-person cases through 3 p.m. Sunday.

“This remains a significant, deadly storm and must not be underestimated,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “With the continuing widespread flooding and devastation, every person in its path should heed the warnings of their local officials.”

6:29 p.m. CDT Sunday: Floating fire ants are adding to the dangers posed by floodwaters in Houston, Texas. The ants band together to create rafts to survive the high waters, floating until they reach a dry area. A fire ant's bite can cause painful, stinging blisters.
Fire ants form a protective island as they float out the flood

Click the image above to donate now to United Way to help Hurricane Harvey victims.

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