Storm Harvey threat­ens Texas with ‘cat­a­strophic’ floods, one dead

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

ROCK­PORT, Texas (Reuters) - The most pow­er­ful storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years has killed at least one per­son and is now threat­en­ing cat­a­strophic flood­ing as search and res­cue teams de­ploy to the hard­est-hit zones, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day.

Harvey slammed into Texas, the heart of the US oil and gas in­dus­try, late Fri­day as a Cat­e­gory 4 hurricane with winds of 130 miles per hour (209 km per hour), mak­ing it the strong­est storm to strike the state since 1961.

It ripped off roofs, snapped trees, and trig­gered tor­na­does and flash floods, while also cur­tail­ing a large por­tion of Amer­ica’s oil and fuel pro­duc­tion and prompt­ing price hikes at the pumps.

Harvey has since weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm, but is ex­pected to lash Texas for days as it lum­bers in­land, bring­ing as much as 40 inches (102 cm) of rain and af­fect­ing heav­ily pop­u­lated ar­eas like Hous­ton.

One per­son died in a house fire in the town of Rock­port, 30 miles (48 km) north of the city of Cor­pus Christi, as Harvey roared ashore overnight, Mayor Charles Wax said in a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, mark­ing the first con­firmed fa­tal­ity from the storm. An­other dozen peo­ple in the area suf­fered in­juries like bro­ken bones, an­other of­fi­cial said.

The town took a di­rect hit from the storm and had streets flooded and strewn with power lines and de­bris yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. At a recre­ational ve­hi­cle sales lot, a dozen ve­hi­cles were flipped over and one had been blown into the mid­dle of the street. By yes­ter­day evening, a car­a­van of mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles had ar­rived in the Rock­port area with peo­ple and equip­ment to help in the re­cov­ery ef­forts, and town of­fi­cials an­nounced an overnight cur­few for res­i­dents.

“It was ter­ri­ble,” res­i­dent Joel Valdez, 57, told Reuters. The storm ripped part of the roof from his trailer home at around 4 am, he said as he sat in a Jeep with win­dows smashed by the storm. “I could feel the whole house move.”

Be­fore the storm hit, Rock­port’s mayor told any­one stay­ing be­hind to write their names on their arms for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in case of death or injury. A high school, ho­tel, se­nior housing com­plex and other build­ings suf­fered struc­tural dam­age, ac­cord­ing to emer­gency of­fi­cials and lo­cal me­dia. Some were be­ing used as shel­ters.

Texas Gover­nor Greg Ab­bott on Saturday said he was ac­ti­vat­ing 1,800 mem­bers of the mil­i­tary to help with the statewide cleanup, while 1,000 peo­ple would con­duct search-and-res­cue op­er­a­tions.

The streets of Cor­pus Christi, which has around 320,000 res­i­dents, were de­serted yes­ter­day, with bill­boards twisted and strong winds still blow­ing. City au­thor­i­ties asked res­i­dents to re­duce use of toi­lets and faucets be­cause power out­ages left waste wa­ter plants un­able to treat sewage.

Else­where, the Texas Depart­ment of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice said it was forced to evac­u­ate some 4,500 in­mates from three state pris­ons near the Bra­zos River be­cause of ris­ing wa­ter. Texas util­ity com­pa­nies, mean­while, said 220,000 cus­tomers were with­out power.

The US Coast Guard said it had res­cued 15 peo­ple from dis­tressed ves­sels yes­ter­day, and was also mon­i­tor­ing two Carnival Corp cruise ships car­ry­ing thou­sands of peo­ple stranded in the US Gulf of Mex­ico due to the ef­fects of the storm.

Harvey was a Cat­e­gory 4 hurricane on the Saf­fir-Simp­son scale when it hit the coast, the sec­ond-high­est cat­e­gory, and the most pow­er­ful storm in over a decade to come ashore any­where in the main­land United States.

Cor­pus Christi af­ter Harvey made land­fall (OAAN)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.