NEW: Dallas aims to open "mega-shelter" for 5,000 evacuees by Tuesday morning
Two storm-related deaths reported so far: one in Houston, the other in Rockport
Harvey is no longer a hurricane, but life-threatening flooding continued in and around Houston on Sunday night as citizens with boats assisted authorities in search and rescue efforts.
Flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey is overburdening resources in the country’s fourth-largest city, prompting authorities to call on volunteers with watercraft for help in rescuing those trapped in homes and buildings.
An immediate respite from Harvey’s wrath seems unlikely to come. The National Weather Service calls the flooding “unprecedented,” and warns things may become more dire if a forecasted record-breaking 50 inches of rain does fall on parts of Texas in coming days. In anticipation of a worsening situation, Dallas is turning its main convention center into a “mega-shelter” that can host 5,000 evacuees.
The rainfall threatens to exacerbate an already dangerous situation, as Harvey’s rains have left many east Texas rivers and bayous swollen to their banks or beyond.
“The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before,” the weather service said. “Catastrophic flooding is now underway and expected to continue for days.”
The storm killed two people in Texas, authorities said, and the death toll will likely rise. More than 1,000 people were rescued overnight, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner warned that some 911 calls are going unanswered as operators “give preference to life-threatening calls.”
Here are the latest developments:
- A woman who drove her vehicle into high water in Houston was killed, and fire killed a man in Rockport.
- Several states and the US military are sending emergency workers and equipment to Texas. In Harris County, though, authorities are having issues mobilizing those resources. “We’ve requested boats, all the things that would normally happen in a well-planned response to an event like this, but they can’t get here,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said.
- Dallas announced its plans to open a “mega-shelter” capable of accommodating 5,000 evacuees at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. County officials, charitable groups and local hospitals are working to open the shelter by Tuesday morning.
- While Turner warned the rain could exacerbate flooding for “four to five days,” Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said he expects his agency “is going to be there for years.”
- The Houston Independent School District has canceled school for the week.
- Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports are closed until further notice, officials said. Corpus Christi International reopened at 4 p.m. Sunday, officials said. Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Beaumont, Ellington Airport in Houston, Mustang Beach Airport in Port Aransas and McCampbell-Porter Airport in Aransas Pass are also temporarily closed, the Federal Aviation Administration says.
- Ben Taub Hospital, which houses a Level I trauma center, is being evacuated after flooding in the basement “disrupted the power source,” Emmet said.
- 316,000 customers have lost electricity, Gov. Greg Abbott said.
- The Red Cross is serving about 130,000 meals a day, the governor said.
- President Donald Trump will travel to Texas on Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.