After causing catastrophic flooding in south eastern Texas, Hurricane Harvey weakened to a Tropical Depression and moved inland over Louisiana on Thursday, 31 August. As the storm moves north eastward, the National Weather Service has warned that flooding rain could affect parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi.
Meanwhile in south eastern Texas the death toll has now climbed to 44 as emergency teams continue to carry out rescue operations. Around 35,000 people are still in temporary shelters. Authorities in Texas report that 7,000 homes have been destroyed by the storm and floods. Thousands more have been severely damaged.
Several rivers in Texas are likely to remain above major flood stage into the weekend, including the Guadalupe, Brazos, Trinity, and Neches Rivers. Some flood warnings therefore remain in effect for south-east Texas as well as parts of south-west Louisiana.
After causing catastrophic flooding in areas around Houston from 27 August, the bands of torrential rain brought by Hurricane Harvey moved further east. Major flooding was reported in Port Arthur, a city of 55,000 people situated about 160 km east of Houston.
Harvey dumped nearly 47.35 inches (1202.69 mm) of rain in the Beaumont / Port Arthur area between 24 and 30 August, the National Weather Service said.
Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Beaumont, Texas, recorded a record 26.03 inches (661.16 mm) of rain on Tuesday 29 August, beating the old record of 12.77 inches (324.35 mm).
Some flooding was also reported in areas around Lake Charles, Louisiana, where evacuations were carried out and some homes suffered damage.
Affected Areas and Recovery in Texas
Texas Governor Greg Abbott requested and was approved a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the following affected counties: Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Refugio, Victoria, Waller, and Wharton counties for Individual Assistance and assistance with debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program.
Bexar, Dallas, Tarrant and Travis counties are eligible for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program.
US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to mobilize thousands of personnel and resources to support state, local and tribal efforts throughout the region.
Local media report that 44 people have died in the storm and floods. This figure may rise further as rescue workers continue to search for survivors and bodies in an operation that could take up to two weeks.
Rescues and Evacautions Continue
Almost a week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, evacuations are continuing throughout affected areas. Between 30 and 31 August, Texas Military Department (TMD) and state partners conducted over 4,000 ground missions and 350 plus air missions in the Houston area resulting in over 4,500 ground assisted evacuations and 350 ground assisted rescues.
TMD has 14,000 personnel mobilized in support of civil authorities in response to Harvey, with over 600 Vehicles, 43 boats, 33 Rotary Wing and two Fixed Wing aircraft in operation.
Thousands of Homes Destroyed
Texas Department of Public Safety reported on 31 August that 34,575 people are housed in over 200 shelters across affected areas in Texas.
The Department also reported that 84,582 homes have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, with 37,146 suffering major damage and 6,804 completely destroyed.
Many of the homes suffering major damage were in Galveston (7,310), Harris (11,625) and Jefferson (16,000) counties.
Businesses, Utilities and Roads
Major damage was also reported to 2,881 businesses. Oil refineries and pipelines have been shut down in affected areas. Local media report that a fire broke out at a chemical plant near Houston.
Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in Texas reports that, as of 31 August, approximately 224,127 customers were without power due to the impacts of the storm.
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported that 506 highways across affected areas of Texas were closed or flooded.
Texas Department of Public Safety said that record flooding was recorded in the Sabine, Brazos Basin, Neches and Trinity basins. Major flooding was reported in the Guadalupe, San Jacinto, Lavaca-Navidad, Colorado and San Bernard basins.
Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches / 1270 mm of rain in some areas of Texas. Figures below (in inches) according to NWS for a period from 24 to 30 August, 2017:
- Cedar Bayou – 51.88
- Clear Creek – 49.40
- Dayton – 49.23
- Marys Creek At Winding Road – 49.20
- Beaumont/Port Arthur – 47.35
- Santa Fe – 46.70
- Pasadena – 45.74
- Horsepen Creek At Bay Area Blvd – 45.60
- South Houston – 44.91
- Bayou Conway – 22.25
- Bayou Toro Near Toro – 20.62
Flood Warnings for Ohio River Valley
The National Weather Service said that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey will progress up the Ohio River Valley and the Mid-South on Friday and heavy rainfall will increase the threat of flash flooding, especially in the Ohio River Valley. There is also a chance of severe thunderstorms, with the possibility of a few tornadoes, in the Southern Appalachians and the Carolinas.