Harvey makes landfall again as Texas death toll mounts

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Even the SHELTERS are flooded: At least 30 dead, more than 30,000 homeless and $160billion in destruction as weather expert claims Hurricane Harvey is the ‘worst natural disaster in US history’

  • 40,000 homes are thought to have been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey as it rages into its sixth day  
  • The Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur flooded on Tuesday night forcing evacuees to be rescued again
  • 30,000 people are taking cover in other overcrowded shelters across Texas as more rain falls on the state 
  • 30 people have been confirmed dead by local authorities but the number is feared to be much higher 
  • Houston’s Police Chief Art Acevedo said he was worried about how many bodies would later be found 
  • People are trapped on the roofs of their homes which are quickly sinking under the flood water  
  • Louisiana is bracing itself for 10 inches of rain as the storm moves closer and closer to its shore 
  • There have now been five days of record breaking rain in Texas with more than 50inches falling since Friday 
  • To donate to the Red Cross’s Hurricane Harvey relief fund, click here or call 1-800-435-7669 

 

There was no escaping Hurricane Harvey on Tuesday night as even rescue shelters housing terrified evacuees who have lost their homes filled up with flood water in what experts are now describing as the worst natural disaster in US history.

At the Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, evacuees were forced to wait in the bleachers as water washed over the floor and sent their Red Cross cot beds and chairs floating.

They were taken to Carl Parker Center at Lamar State College where they now join hundreds of others who have been displaced. It is not clear how many people were in the first shelter when the floods crept in on Tuesday night.

More than 30,000 people are in bursting shelters as floods continue to swamp Houston after the heaviest rainfall in US history.  Countless more are taking cover in the homes of friends and family whose houses are, for now, safe from the floods.

The water continues to rise, sparking electrical fires in abandoned homes and threatening to drown anyone who has been unable to escape. More than 50 inches of rain has fallen in parts of Houston – the heaviest rainfall in US history – and the downpours continue.

Joel Myers, the founder of the AccuWeather service, described it as the ‘worst natural disaster in US history’ on Wednesday and estimated the damage to be $160 billion – the same amount as that caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy combined.

At least 30 people have been confirmed dead but that number is likely to rocket as the waters recede and emergency services begin recovering victims.

Anyone who is still in need of rescue is being asked to get on high ground and wave white towels or sheets to make themselves visible. Overwhelmed authorities are asking anyone with boats to help in the rescue efforts.

Many in Port Arthur and Beaumont are trapped on their roofs awaiting rescue.

An evacuee cowers in a Red Cross cot at the Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, Texas, as flood water rises around them on Tuesday night. The evacuees were moved to another shelter shortly after this photograph was taken

The Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, Texas, – where hundreds were taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey – flooded on Tuesday night as the floods continued to rise

Children and adults were forced to wade through more flood water at the shelter, after already being rescued once, before they were taken to another safe, dry center

On Tuesday, Houston’s Police Chief Art Acevedo painted a grave picture of the devastation. ‘I’m worried about how many bodies we’re going to find. I’m just hoping we find the bodies,’ he said, as his officers continued to focus their efforts on saving their living rather than retrieving the bodies of the dead.

Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday and ravaged the southeast coast before moving back off shore where it has thundered on for days.

It returned to land on Wednesday, arriving on the state lines of Texas and Louisiana at 5am and bringing 10 inches of rain to Louisiana where preparations have been underway for days in anticipation of the deadly storm.

As rescue teams and volunteers continue rescuing stranded residents from the waters,

  • There are 30,000 people in shelters across the state with another 10,000 expected to become displaced
  • The NRG stadium which hosted this year’s Superbowl has opened its doors to house the needy
  • 30 people are confirmed dead but the official death toll is feared to be significantly higher
  • Dams in Houston have failed and water plants are swamped, making drinking water across some counties unsafe
  • A midnight to 5am curfew is in place to stop looters and other opportunistic criminals
  • Louisiana is bracing itself for 10 inches of rain as Harvey barrels along the coast before landing at midday
  • There are mandatory evacuation orders in place across five different counties. For a full list, check here 
  • The cost of the damage by the time the storm has passed is likely to reach $160billion

On Wednesday, Joel Myers of AccuWeather warned that Harvey had surpassed all others in terms of destruction.

‘This will be the worst natural disaster in American history. The economy’s impact, by the time its total destruction is completed, will approach $160 billion, which is similar to the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy,’ he told The New York Post.  

At the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, the city’s main shelter, 10,000 are cramming in to cots, chairs and on the floor.