Tropical Storm Harvey Touches Down in Louisiana as Death Toll Rises to 30
Tropical storm Harvey has approached its fifth day, and forecasters don’t expect the slow-moving storm to let up any time soon as flood-related deaths reach at least 30.
The deadly storm system touched down in Louisiana early Wednesday morning after ravaging parts of Texas for nearly a week, the New York Times reports. Although Harvey has made its way to the southeastern state, forecasters have said Texas is not out of the woods just yet.
“Ongoing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding will continue across southeastern Texas,” officials with the National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday. “While the threat of heavy rains has ended in the Houston/Galveston area, catastrophic and life-threatening flooding will continue in and around Houston eastward into southwest Louisiana for the rest of the week.”
The National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Wednesday night. But the damage has already been done as Texas officials have reported at least 30 confirmed and suspected deaths as a result of the floodwaters, the Times reports.
The massive storm touched down as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, dumping several inches of rain on the Texas Coastal Bend. The storm left homes flooded, many without power and several buildings destroyed.
Thousands of people have been rescued in the wake of the storm, but strained resources have prompted locals to take to the waters in boats and makeshift floating devices to save those stranded.
Evacuations were underway earlier this week for Louisiana residents in the path of the storm.
Local crews have rescued more than 3,500 people from the rising waters and parts of Houston have seen more than 50 inches, according to the Times.
As shelters become packed to capacity and rescue efforts continue, officials in Brazoria County (south of Houston) announced a levee breach. In a tweet, Brazoria officials urged residents near Columbia Lakes to “GET OUT NOW!!”
Among the dead is a 41-year-old woman who was found floating in flood waters in Beaumont on Tuesday.
Officer Carol Riley, a spokeswoman for the Beaumont Police Department, told PEOPLE that the unidentified woman was found floating in a canal with her daughter clinging to her.
“They were in the water for quite some time,” Riley says. “When the baby was found the baby was clinging to her. The mother did the best she could to keep her child up over the water.”
“The baby also had a backpack that was helping her float on her back and she was holding on to her mom,” Riley added.