Catastrophic Flooding Hits Texas as the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Leaves at Least 2 Dead
A day after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the coastal area of Texas, power has been cut for thousands across the state as highways, homes and streets suffer catastrophic flooding.
Hurricane Harvey caused terrible wreckage after making landfall in the town of Rockport on Friday night, as a Category 4 storm. Hitting the coastal area with 130 mph winds, Rockport and Port Aransas took the brunt of the storm, which saw the destruction of buildings, flooded homes and thousands of power outages.
On Saturday and early Sunday, parts of the Houston area had received more than 20 inches of rain, with southeast Harris County logged at 24.28 inches of rain in 24 hours, the Weather Channel reported.
Officials are now confirming that at least two people have died in the wreckage, but the amount of fatalities and injuries from the storm is not clear yet.
A person was found dead in a vehicle in Houston on Saturday night in what looks like a possible drowning amid severe flooding in the city, a Houston fire department spokesperson said, NBC News reported. Another man died in a terrible house fire. Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said his body was found Saturday in his home, USA Today reported.
Mills said that as many as 30 to 40 people remained unaccounted for as of Saturday evening. At least 30 people were being treated for serious injuries, USA Today reported.
Reporters who were actively covering the storm in Texas were also forced to evacuate news stations as water flooded their stations. Weather reporter for KHOU, Greg Mathews, tweeted a video of water rapidly seeping into their office with the caption, “We’re evacuating.”
“We’re evacuating. @CNN @GaughanSurfing @FoxNews @weatherchannel, Mathews tweeted.
The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Emergency for the Harris County area until after midnight on Sunday morning. As of Saturday night, the storm was centered around 75 miles east of San Antonio with 50 mph winds and “torrential rains” expected to continue, the National Hurricane Center said, NBC reported. As of 2 a.m. winds had dropped to around 45 mph.
The National Weather Service in Houston tweeted a warning early Sunday morning, cautioning that “CATASTROPHIC FLOODING IN THE HOUSTON METROPOLITAN AREA IS EXPECTED TO WORSEN AND COULD BECOME HISTORIC.”
Officials also warned people not to go to the highest floor of their home if the house endured severe flooding, urging people of going to the roof instead. A Houston police official cautioned that people should not go into the “attic to escape floodwater” unless they have “an ax or means to break through” the roof. As of Saturday evening, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that more than 300,000 customers are without power, Time reported.
YouTube star Casey Neistat issued a plea for help to his Twitter followers, saying that his father-in-law was trapped in his flooded house in the Houston area. Neistat said that the water was up to the 70-year-old’s waist in his single-level home. He added that the water was rising and that he needed to be rescued.
More than 45,000 people were without power in Houston early Sunday as city officials warned residents to stay at home as rescue efforts were carried out, NBC News reported. At least 10 people sustained injuries in Rockport on Friday when the roof of a senior housing complex collapsed during the storm in the Aransas Bay town, KTRK-TV reported.
President Donald Trump also posted tweets related to the deadly storm, saying he would be “going to Texas soon” and also writing “Wow- Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!”
The president issued a disaster proclamation on Friday as the hurricane was about to make landfall. He vowed to give the “full force” of the federal government to emergency aid in Texas.
Tornado watches are also in effect for the Houston area.