HARVEY AFTERMATH | More rain, more dead: Harvey floods keeps Houston paralyzed


HOUSTON (AP) — Floodwaters reached the rooflines of single-story homes today and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues.

The nation's fourth-largest city was still mostly paralyzed by one of the largest downpours in U.S. history. And there was no relief in sight from the storm that spun into Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, then parked over the Gulf Coast. With nearly 2 more feet of rain expected on top of the 30-plus inches in some places, authorities worried the worst might be yet to come.

Harvey has been blamed for at least three confirmed deaths, including a woman killed today in the town of Porter, northeast of Houston, when a large oak tree dislodged by heavy rains toppled onto her trailer home.

A Houston television station reported six family members were believed to have drowned when their van was swept away by floodwaters. The KHOU report was attributed to three family members the station did not identify. No bodies have been recovered.

Police Chief Art Acevedo told The Associated Press he had no information about the report but said that he's "really worried about how many bodies we're going to find."

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2 p.m.

HOUSTON (AP) — A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for a Southeast Texas city of about 20,000 that’s been inundated by Harvey floodwaters.

Dickinson police announced the city’s mandatory evacuation that took effect at 2 p.m. Monday.

Dickinson is a low-lying city about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. It’s along Dickinson Bayou. Crews on Sunday rescued more than 20 residents and staffers from an assisted-living center in Dickinson that flooded.

The police statement cited the fragile infrastructure in the city amid flooding, limited working utilities and concern for the forecast track of Harvey. Transportation was available for those needing help leaving Dickinson.

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3:20 p.m.

MOSS BLUFF, La. (AP) — Bands of heavy rain from Harvey lashed southwest Louisiana on Monday, and the state’s governor said potential flooding could pose a “dangerous situation.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters he expects the potential for flood damage to increase as the rain continued to pummel the area.

“We do have a long way to go with this particular storm,” he said. “This is going to play out over several days.”

While Louisiana doesn’t appear to be facing catastrophic damage on par with Harvey’s destructive toll on Texas, images of the devastation in Houston are stirring up painful memories for many Hurricane Katrina survivors in Louisiana.

“It really evoked a lot of emotions and heartbreak for the people who are going through that now in Houston,” Ray Gratia said as he picked up sandbags for his New Orleans home, which flooded during the historically destructive 2005 hurricane.

After Katrina’s landfall, levee breaches left much of New Orleans underwater for weeks. New Orleans was on the outskirts of Harvey’s rain bands Monday, but residents are on edge with the city’s pump and drainage system still not working at full capacity.

The state hadn’t yet received any reports of flood damaged homes, but there were already some impassible roads in southwest Louisiana, Edwards said.

“I have a hard time believing you have as many streets closed as we do without having some damage out there,” Edwards said.

Floodwaters covered roads and crept toward homes in Brenda Bradley’s neighborhood in Moss Bluff, a Lake Charles suburb in Calcasieu Parish. Bradley, 72, and her husband, Jimmie, had stacked sandbags at their doors. The rising water was lapping at the steps to their back porch Monday morning.

“We’ve got to try to save what we can,” Bradley said. “We’re in our 70s and there’s no way we can lift all (our) furniture up.”

President Donald Trump issued a federal emergency declaration on Monday for five parishes in southwest Louisiana: Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vermillion. More areas can be added later.

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1:40 p.m.

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police Chief Art Acevedo says authorities have rescued 2,000 people from flooding in the city.

Acevedo says the city has 185 critical rescue requests still pending as of Monday morning. He says the goal is to rescue those people by the end of the day.

The comments came at a news conference where officials provide updates on Harvey, which is still pouring rain on the Houston area.

Harvey came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. The slow-moving storm has caused catastrophic flooding in Texas.

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11:40 a.m.

The shelter set up inside the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston has already reached half its capacity.

Ken Sandy, a shelter manager for the American Red Cross, said Monday that more than 2,600 people took shelter in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Organizers with the Red Cross estimate the convention center can accommodate roughly 5,000 people.

Sandy says the shelter is currently out of cots and waiting for more to arrive.

With Tropical Storm Harvey still pouring rain on the Houston area, thousands more people are expected to need to evacuate their homes.

The Red Cross has also set up other shelters throughout the area.

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9:30 a.m.

HOUSTON (AP) — Officials released more water from Houston-area reservoirs overwhelmed by Harvey early Monday in a move aimed at protecting the city’s downtown from devastating floods but that could still endanger thousands of homes, even as the nation’s fourth-largest city anticipated more rain.

Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered just off the coast dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm, sent devastating floods pouring into Houston on Sunday. The rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with the constant calls for help.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said during a news conference Monday that as many as 50 counties in Texas are affected by the flooding and that a tremendous amount of rainfall is in the cards for southwest Louisiana too. The rain and floods have been blamed in at least two deaths.

Even as the water rose Sunday, the National Weather Service issued an ominous forecast: Before the storm is gone, some parts of Houston and its suburbs could get as much as 50 inches (1.3 meters) of rain. That would be the highest amount ever recorded in Texas.

On Monday morning, emergency vehicles made up most of the traffic in an otherwise deserted downtown Houston — normally a bustling business area. Many traffic signals did not work and most businesses were closed.

Residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs — that were designed to prevent flooding in downtown Houston — were warned Sunday that a controlled release from both reservoirs would cause additional street flooding that could spill into homes. Rising water levels and continuing rain was putting pressure on the dams that could fail without the release. Harris and Fort Bend county officials advised residents to pack their cars Sunday night and leave in the morning.

“When the sun comes up, get out,” said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District. “And you don’t have to go far, you just need to get out of this area.”

The Army Corps of Engineers started the reservoir releases before 2 a.m. Monday — ahead of schedule — because water levels were increasing at a rate of more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) per hour, Corps spokesman Jay Townsend said.

Officials in Fort Bend County, Houston’s southwestern suburbs, late Sunday issued mandatory evacuation orders along the Brazos River levee districts. County officials were preparing for the river to reach major flood stages late Sunday. County Judge Robert Herbert said at a news conference that National Weather Service officials were predicting that the water could rise to 59 feet (18 meters), three feet (90 centimeters) above 2016 records and what Herbert called an “800-year flood level.” Herbert said that amount of water would top the levees and carries a threat of levee failure.

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