Hurricane Harvey: Fears of flash floods as 40 inches of rain hit Texas

 

The fiercest hurricane to hit the United States in more than a decade caused widespread damage and dumped torrents of rain along hundreds of miles of the Texas coastline.

Residents were warned of "catastrophic and life-threatening flooding" to come, after Hurricane Harvey made landfall late on Friday night with 130mph winds battering buildings, knocking down trees and electricity cables, and leaving up to 300,000 without power.

One person died in a house fire as Harvey roared across Rockport, Texas, the town’s Mayor CJ Wax said.

A second fatality was announced late on Saturday night. A woman died as a result of flooding in Houston.

Rockport, a coastal town of about 10,000 people, where two thirds of residents had already evacuated, was directly in the storm’s path.

Mayor CJ Wax said it had been hit "right on the nose" and there was "widespread devastation" with homes and businesses destroyed.

The roof of a high school in Rockport reportedly caved in, and 10 people were taken to the county jail for treatment after another roof collapse at a nursing home.

Mr Wax said emergency services had been hampered by a loss of mobile phone service.

Before the storm Rockport had issued advice to those not evacuating to write their names and Social Security numbers on their arms so rescuers could identify them if they perished.

One man who stayed in the town said: "The storm sounded like a train with square wheels. It was the most stressful thing I’ve ever been through. I saw trees going down, roofs blowing off. I’ve got 300-year-old oak trees down in my yard, a magnolia tree on my roof."

Up to 20 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours in some places and there were warnings of flash floods.
Hurricane Harvey path
View photos
Hurricane Harvey path

Texans were warned to look out for alligators displaced by the extreme weather.

In a statement warning about alligators the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said: "Expect them to be displaced. Simply looking for higher ground. Leave alone until water recedes."

The storm stirred memories of Hurricane Katrina, which made a direct hit on New Orleans in 2005 and led to 1,800 deaths amid a widely criticised government response.

Harvey was the first natural disaster to hit the US since Donald Trump became president and the response of his administration was being widely watched.

Mr Trump signed a disaster declaration late on Friday night which he said would "unleash the full force of government help".

He commended Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his handling of the storm.

Mr Trump, who was at Camp David, wrote on Twitter: "You are doing a great job – the world is watching! Be safe. We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Governments working great together! We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before Harvey. So far, so good!"

President Trump intended to visit Texas early next week in the wake of the hurricane to assess the emergency response.

 

The fiercest hurricane to hit the United States in more than a decade caused widespread damage and dumped torrents of rain along hundreds of miles of the Texas coastline.

Residents were warned of "catastrophic and life-threatening flooding" to come, after Hurricane Harvey made landfall late on Friday night with 130mph winds battering buildings, knocking down trees and electricity cables, and leaving up to 300,000 without power.

One person died in a house fire as Harvey roared across Rockport, Texas, the town’s Mayor CJ Wax said.

A second fatality was announced late on Saturday night. A woman died as a result of flooding in Houston.

Rockport, a coastal town of about 10,000 people, where two thirds of residents had already evacuated, was directly in the storm’s path.

Mayor CJ Wax said it had been hit "right on the nose" and there was "widespread devastation" with homes and businesses destroyed.

The roof of a high school in Rockport reportedly caved in, and 10 people were taken to the county jail for treatment after another roof collapse at a nursing home.

Mr Wax said emergency services had been hampered by a loss of mobile phone service.

Before the storm Rockport had issued advice to those not evacuating to write their names and Social Security numbers on their arms so rescuers could identify them if they perished.

One man who stayed in the town said: "The storm sounded like a train with square wheels. It was the most stressful thing I’ve ever been through. I saw trees going down, roofs blowing off. I’ve got 300-year-old oak trees down in my yard, a magnolia tree on my roof."

Up to 20 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours in some places and there were warnings of flash floods.

Hurricane Harvey path

View photos

Hurricane Harvey path

Texans were warned to look out for alligators displaced by the extreme weather.

In a statement warning about alligators the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said: "Expect them to be displaced. Simply looking for higher ground. Leave alone until water recedes."

The storm stirred memories of Hurricane Katrina, which made a direct hit on New Orleans in 2005 and led to 1,800 deaths amid a widely criticised government response.

Harvey was the first natural disaster to hit the US since Donald Trump became president and the response of his administration was being widely watched.

Mr Trump signed a disaster declaration late on Friday night which he said would "unleash the full force of government help".

He commended Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his handling of the storm.

Mr Trump, who was at Camp David, wrote on Twitter: "You are doing a great job – the world is watching! Be safe. We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Governments working great together! We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before Harvey. So far, so good!"

President Trump intended to visit Texas early next week in the wake of the hurricane to assess the emergency response.

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