Tropical storm Harvey brings record flooding to Texas

The desperate calls for help in Texas continued Sunday, as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic record flooding. Meteorologists said some parts of Houston were going to receive as much as 50 inches of rain. 

At least five deaths and at least 14 injuries were blamed on the Friday and Saturday hit of the Category 4 storm, which slowly downgraded into a tropical storm Saturday. Aside from the torrential rain, the storm was also prompting meteorologists to activate tornado warnings Sunday. 

In some neighborhoods in Houston, the water was gushing into second-floor apartments. Rescuers were using helicopters, boats and "high water rescue" vehicles to access inundated neighborhoods in treacherous conditions. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the best way for the public to help was to contact the Red Cross. He said the U.S. Coast Guard was part of the rescue effort with eight helicopters and boats. 

"We are still moving hundreds of evacuees to safe locations," Abbott said. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner didn't order evacuations, because he said the risk of sending the city's 2.3 million residents onto the highways was too high. With the heavy rain, the search and rescue efforts were prioritizing life-and-death situations.

Residents were using everything from inflatable beach toys and air mattresses to get to safety and there were a lot of untold stories of heroism. Jesse Gonzalez said he and his son used their boat to rescue residents and dogs swimming in southeast Houston. 

Firefighters scanned coastal towns debris looking for bodies. Rescuers risked facing frightened pets left behind, displaced alligators and snakes, dangerous electrical issues and blocked roads. 

About four dozen members of a specialized team from Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue were on their way to help Sunday. They were set to start working Monday. 

Meteorologists were keeping track of the rainfall totals, which were climbing by the hour since Thursday. When Harvey made landfall northeast of Corpus Christi Friday night, they considered it the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. 

Harvey -- the strongest hurricane to strike Texas since 1961's Hurricane Carla -- weakened to a tropical storm Saturday, but meteorologists warned the storm's bands were feeding off the warmth of the Gulf Coast. The system was hurting Texas most vulnerable residents. 

Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said the aftermath of the storm would require federal involvement in Texas for years. On Friday night, most of the property damage was in the coastal city of Rockport, where a fire during the storm killed  a woman.

A woman died Saturday when she tried to get out of her vehicle in high water, according to the Houston emergency operations center. Authorities were expecting the situation to worsen this week. 

"The disaster is going to be a landmark event," Long said. 

President Donald Trump, who was at Camp David during the storm and is expected to visit Texas this week, said there was "great coordination" between local, state and federal agencies. 

Trump tweeted Sunday that he would go to Texas "as soon as that trip can be made without causing disruption. The focus must be life and safety."

 

Photos of the storm and its aftermath

 

 

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Local 10 News' partners ABC News , CNN, Getty Images and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.