Hurricane Harvey

UPDATE: Mayor Turner Imposes Curfew Until Further Notice

Curfew from 12 AM to 5 AM in place to prevent burglaries and looting of abandoned homes.

THE LATEST:

For the foreseeable future, Mayor Sylvester Turner is imposing a curfew from 12 AM to 5 AM. Turner says it’s to stop any property crimes against evacuated homes in city limits and that it’s not the first time for the city.

A weeklong curfew was imposed after Hurricane Ike to prevent burglaries and looting. “Anyone who underestimates the spirit of this city does not know Houston “Woe is Houston?”, says Mayor Turner, “that just encourages us further.”

(Story has been amended to reflect change of curfew time from 10 PM to 12 AM)

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Officials say they have evacuated homes northeast of Houston after a chemical company said there is a risk of an explosion at its flooded plant.

The Harris County Fire Marshal’s office said in a tweet Tuesday that homes within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the Arkema plant in Crosby have been evacuated out of precaution.

Arkema says in a news release that it manufactures organic peroxides in Crosby, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Houston. The company says the chemical compounds must be stored at low temperatures, but it lost refrigerated storage after power went out and backup generators were inundated.

Arkema said it shut down the Crosby site before Harvey made landfall last week, but a crew of 11 had been kept onsite. That group was removed Tuesday.

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For the drenched Houston region, an end to the rain and a sunny day are almost in sight. But that’s only because meteorologists forecast Harvey to come inland Wednesday, then slog through Louisiana and take its downpours north. Arkansas, Tennessee, parts of Missouri and southern Illinois are on alert for Harvey flooding in a couple days.

Harvey is forecast to return inland around the Texas-Louisiana line and close to Beaumont, Texas, early Wednesday morning or late Tuesday night with 45 mph (72 kph) winds and heavy rains, spending much of Wednesday in Louisiana. Along the Gulf Coast, rain is expected to continue Wednesday but taper off.

Dennis Feltgen, National Hurricane Center spokesman says, “Texas is going to get a chance to finally dry out as this system pulls out.”

But Feltgen cautioned that this doesn’t mean Harvey is ending.

Flash flood watches are already posted for parts of Tennessee, southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.

Those areas and Arkansas could get six or seven inches of rain, but it won’t be anything like what southeast Texas got.

The National Weather Service in Houston forecasts less of an inch for the city on Wednesday, and only a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for Thursday. And then for Friday it says, “mostly sunny.”

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An official says that a levee protecting a subdivision of homes in a county south of Houston has been fortified after being breached but warns the threat is far from over.

Brazoria County spokeswoman Sharon Trower said Tuesday afternoon that the levee had been fortified. Earlier in the day the county had posted on Twitter: “NOTICE: The levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!! GET OUT NOW!!”

She says that some water did get through but it wasn’t substantial. She warns that authorities don’t know how long the fortification will hold. She also notes the breach happened due to rainwater but that the nearby Brazos River continues to spill out of its banks.

Trower says that the mandatory evacuation ordered Sunday morning still stands and notes that most of the residents in the area have left.

Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta has said that there are hundreds of homes in the tree-lined subdivision situated around a golf course.

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Facebook and Google are matching donations to people affected by Hurricane Harvey, the tech giants announced on Tuesday. Facebook says it will match every dollar raised through its platform, up to $1 million, for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. The money will support local recovery and rebuilding efforts. U.S. Facebook users are getting a message at the top of their news feed on how to donate.

Google says it is matching $1 million in donations to the American Red Cross. To donate, go to https://www.google.org/harvey-relief/ . The company also matched donations from employees, and said Tuesday it donated $750,000 between its nonprofit arm, Google.org, and employee contributions to organizations such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children.

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed that police Sgt. Steve Perez has died after he became trapped in his patrol car as he was driving to work.

The Houston Chronicle has reported that the 34-year officer was heading to work Sunday when he became trapped in high water on Interstate 45 in north Harris County and then couldn’t get himself out of his car.

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According to the Harris County Flood Control District 2,500 homes may experience flooding at Addicks, the number of homes is 670 for Barker. Listen to the latest flood water update with Jeff Lindner with the Harris County Flood Control District and The Army Corps of Engineers.

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Volunteers and donors are lining up outside of the Toyota Center, the downtown arena that’s home to the Houston Rockets, in anticipation that it will open as a shelter for Harvey evacuees.

City officials and Red Cross spokesmen have not confirmed that the arena will open to shelter evacuees. But several people who went to the George R. Brown Convention Center to volunteer or drop off clothes were told that the Toyota Center would open Tuesday afternoon. Around 30 people are waiting outside an arena entrance.

The convention center has nearly doubled its original 5,000-person capacity, and Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city may open multiple major shelters to accommodate the thousands of people still seeking shelter.

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Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña says his agency has responded to more than 1,000 calls for service — including 400 water rescues — since Harvey inundated much of the city.

Peña says some fire department crews have been working for three days straight, without a break, and he has implemented procedures to ensure firefighters get the nourishment and rest they need.

Peña says it has been difficult to get in fresh crews to replace firefighters at some locations because in many areas, “we can’t get in and out of the fire stations” due to flooding. “We can’t deploy them to where we need them with their equipment.”

Peña says the fire department is managing the resources it has on hand and will rotate in fresh firefighter crews as it is able to do so.

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Weather forecasters expect Tropical Storm Harvey to come ashore somewhere near Louisiana’s southwestern corner, following its trip through Texas and return to the Gulf.

National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Erickson said Tuesday that officials project a landfall in Cameron Parish around midday Wednesday. Erickson says another 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain is likely across southwest Louisiana.

Forecasters also project heavy rain running east from New Orleans to Pensacola along the Gulf Coast.

Harvey is expected to bring gusts up to 45 mph (70 kph) in coastal areas and gusts of up to 35 mph (55 kph) in Lake Charles and along the Interstate 10 corridor.

Erickson warns that some coastal rivers won’t be able to drain rains effectively because Harvey’s winds are pushing storm surge into coastal waters, aggravating flooding in places that have already received more than 20 inches of rain.

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The Salvation Army says it has provided more than 5,000 meals in the Houston area since Harvey swamped parts of the city.

A Salvation Army statement Tuesday said the charitable group has deployed 42 mobile units that each can provide up to 1,500 meals per day. The group also sent two field kitchens, which can each serve up to 15,000 meals per day, to emergency personnel and flood survivors.

The Salvation Army says multiple staging areas are being set up across Texas to coordinate relief efforts as Harvey impacts more people. Those sites include Houston, San Antonio, Victoria and Arlington.

Lt. Col. Ron Busroe says donations from the public will help provide food, shelter and other valuable resources to people in Houston.

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News 887’s Marissa Cummings gives an update on the situation in Northwest Houston following the release of water from the Addicks and Barker dams.

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Officials on Monday are warning residents in Lake Forest Utility District to boil their water for drinking, cooking and making ice. The notice is due to water pressure loss in the water distribution system caused by flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) says to ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes all water should be boiled and cooled prior to use.

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On Tuesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says additional shelters for Houstonians will be named later today for victims of Tropical Storm Harvey. He says he also requested additional supplies from FEMA for 10,000 individuals. When it comes to search and rescue, Turner explained Kingwood is the main area of focus for rescue today.

As of Tuesday morning, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says HPD have rescued 3,400 people. He also said they arrested a number of folks preforming armed robberies and looting happening in the midst of storm recovery Monday night. “You take advantage of people and prey on them in these circumstances, that’s despicable behavior,” Acevedo said, “and we’re all going to push hard to make sure you don’t see the light of day anytime soon.”

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Officials say a levee near a subdivision of homes in a county south of Houston has been breached and water is pouring into the area.

Brazoria County posted this message on Twitter on Tuesday morning: “NOTICE: The levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!! GET OUT NOW!!!”

Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta says that the water has come over the levee in the northeast part of the subdivision and is starting to fill the area.

He says residents were told that at some point the levee would be “overtopped.” He said that a mandatory evacuation order was issued Sunday.

Sebesta says there are hundreds of homes there. He says hopefully “very few” are still in the area.

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(Corrects figure for CenterPoint Energy’s customers without power).

CenterPoint Energy's website says that over 100,000 customers in the Houston area are without lights. Out of those, 52,000 customers are in Houston and nearly 109,000 customers in their service area.

They just out they have over 2,500 crew members on the ground- working on restoring power. They say they've called in external resources to help, more than 70 additional crews arrived Monday, and more than 100 more are on their way. They say in total, they will have over 800 additional crews to help.

 

A map shows most vulnerable areas around the Addicts and Barker reservoirs in Houston. August, 2017.

Barker and Addicks reservoirs keep rising and affecting surrounding areas after a controlled water release, the Army Corps of Engineers said on Tuesday.

In a press conference, they said that the pool elevation at Addicks had risen to 108 feet and is already flowing over the spillway. Barker had also increase to 100 feet.

The planned controlled release of water from the reservoirs started on Monday, as authorities try to prevent uncontrolled releases. However, officials warned that there was potential for uncontrolled releases at the Addicks spillway at 108 feet, which the pool already reached. That level is 104 feet for Barker.

Residents along Addicks and Barker reservoirs were asked to leave their homes. .

The following subdivisions will be affected by the north end of Addicks:

  • Twin lakes
  • Eldridge Park
  • Lakes on Eldrige
  • Independence Farms
  • Tanner Heights
  • Heritage Business Park

Check out maps with most vulnerable neighborhoods.

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On Tuesday, more than three days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane and created a historic flooding in Houston, authorities had confirmed only three deaths — including a woman killed Monday when heavy rains dislodged a large oak tree onto her trailer home in Porter, Montgomery. But unconfirmed reports of others missing or presumed dead were growing.

"We know in these kind of events that, sadly, the death toll goes up historically," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said. "I'm really worried about how many bodies we're going to find."

One Houston woman said Monday that she presumes six members of a family, including four of her grandchildren, died after their van sank into Greens Bayou in East Houston, though Houston emergency officials couldn't confirm the deaths. Virginia Saldivar told KHOU on Monday that her brother-in-law was driving the van Sunday when a strong current took the vehicle over a bridge and into the bayou. The driver was able to get out and urged the children to escape through the back door, Saldivar said, but they could not.

"I'm just hoping we find the bodies," Saldivar said.

And a spokeswoman for a Houston hotel says one of its employees disappeared while helping about 100 guests and workers evacuate the building amid rising floodwaters.

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Flood water update with Jeff Linder of the Harris County Flood Control District:

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The National Weather Service says rain is falling just east of Houston at a rate of 2 inches (5 centimeters) an hour.
The National Hurricane Center has said heavy rain from Harvey is forecast to worsen flooding in Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana.
NWS meteorologist Tawnya Evans says Harris County, home to Houston, is recording about half an inch (1 centimeter) of rainfall each hour early Tuesday, and that areas east of there are seeing much more.
She says the rain could abate later in the morning but that another band of heavy rainfall will soon follow.
Harvey is expected to produce 10 to 20 additional inches (25 to 51 centimeters) or rain over the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana through Thursday.
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In shelters, with more guests than cots, some people slept on chairs or the floor on Monday night. People hung towels and wet clothes on the base of the ceiling supports. Police officers guarded several entrances. Outside, dozens of people still awake stood with their pets and traded cigarettes.

People who escaped rising floodwaters and pouring rain spawned by Harvey arrived at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Monday night by the busload and truckload even as the convention center exceeded its capacity of 5,000. The second night inside the center was louder, more crowded and at times, more chaotic.

At one point, officers tended to two men lying unresponsive in front of an exit, pushing away onlookers. The men had taken drugs and would both recover within an hour.

Frustration grew in some places, more than three days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane before transforming into a tropical storm that currently sits parked over the Gulf of Mexico ahead of an expected return to shore. One person said she had only gotten one meal Monday while watching others take several helpings of food.

Another person, Kevin Perkins, described sleeping on the floor and feeling accosted by police officers inside.

“It’s hell,” Perkins said. He shook his head and walked away as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, during a visit to the convention center Monday, approached near where he was standing.

“All my stuff damaged. I have no clothes, no shoes, no nothing,” he said.

The din inside eventually fell as thousands of people went to bed. Around 7,000 people had arrived before midnight, with more people still coming.

Harvey will drop more rain Tuesday on a city crippled by floodwaters that have swamped streets and neighborhoods. The demands on the convention center were expected to grow, even while a new shelter opened Monday night and city officials considered opening more.

New volunteers arrived through the night. David Brady, CEO of the Red Cross’ Texas Gulf Coast chapter, said that the volunteers were critical to making sure evacuees “feel comfortable here, and that they’re willing and wanting to pull those cots together.”

“If we get our staff to be friendly and open and welcoming, hopefully that will create a culture with the folks who are staying in the shelter to do the same thing,” Brady said.

For Howard Thomas, the shelter was a place of last resort.

Thomas described himself as living on the streets. He had spent the three previous nights at a $55-a-night motel. But he ran out of money Monday morning.

He was picked up from the motel and taken to the convention center, where he waited to check in carrying just a blue tote bag with his belongings.

“I’m hoping I can get a place of my own, even if it’s just a one-room shack, just as long as I’m out of the elements, off the street,” he said.

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The National Hurricane Center says heavy rain from Harvey is expected to worsen flooding in Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana.
The center says in its 4 a.m. CDT advisory that flooded roadways continue to make travel difficult and advises people to take shelter.
The center of the storm was marked 135 miles (220 kilometers) south-southwest of Port Arthur, Texas, and was moving east at 3 mph (4.8 kph) with sustained winds of up to 45 mph (72 kph).
The storm was expected to make a slow turn to the northeast on Tuesday, placing the center just off the middle and upper Texas Gulf coast through Tuesday night before moving inland. Harvey is expected to produce 10 to 20 additional inches or rain over the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana through Thursday, with isolated storm totals maybe reaching 50 inches (130 centimeters) over the Houston-Galveston area and the upper Texas coast.
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Crews overwhelmed by thousands of rescue calls during one of the heaviest downpours in U.S. history have had little time to search for other potential victims. But officials acknowledge the grim reality that fatalities linked to Harvey could soar once the devastating floodwaters recede.
Even worse, officials now worry that the worst may be yet to come.
More than three days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane, authorities worry that the tropical storm now parked over the Gulf Coast will return and deliver a knockout blow to a Houston region already ravaged by devastating downpours generating an amount of rain normally seen only once in more than 1,000 years.
Some fear that may be more than the nation’s fourth-largest city could bear.

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