Harvey’s second landfall
> Louisiana braces for heavy winds and rain
WASHINGTON: After pouring record rains on Texas, Tropical Storm Harvey made a second landfall yesterday to strike Louisiana, a state that still bears deep scars from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
The second hit comes five days after the monster storm slammed onshore as a Category Four hurricane, pummelling the US Gulf coast with torrential rains that turned neighbourhoods into lakes in America’s fourth largest city, Houston.
Harvey made its second landfall just west of the town of Cameron, the National Hurricane Centre said, with “flooding rains” drenching parts of southeastern Texas and neighbouring southwestern Louisiana.
Louisiana residents braced for Harvey’s ferocious maximum sustained winds nearing 72kph, with forecasters predicting another 13cm to 25cm of rain could pour on the region.
In Texas, emergency crews were still struggling to reach hundreds of stranded people in a massive round-the-clock rescue operation – but the National Weather Service tweeted that weather conditions there were to at last improve.
The storm had transformed Houston roads into rivers, driving more than 8,000 people into emergency shelters.
Houstonians woke up yesterday from a night-time curfew declared by mayor Sylvester Turner aimed at aiding search efforts and thwarting potential looting in the flood-ravaged city.
At least one bridge had crumbled, one levee had breached and dams were at risk in the Lone Star State.
The full scale of the catastrophe’s impact – including the number of deaths and the extent of destruction – remained difficult for authorities to gauge, as rescue efforts were ongoing and much of the city remained flood-stricken.
Media reports indicated the death toll could have risen to 30, and authorities feared confirming more once the worst had passed and search teams could again travel roads.
Everywhere, the figures from the storm are staggering. The National Weather Service said over six million Texans have been impacted by heavy rain since Friday.
Andrea Aviles, 16, fled her home along with her family on Tuesday.
She and some 30 extended family members were now crammed into a hotel in the small town of Winnie.
“I’ve never seen it like this,” she said of the flooding. “All our yard is full of water.”
Hugging the road’s central median in their Suburban vehicle – water reaching halfway up the tyres – they passed ditches full of abandoned cars. “It was sad,” she said. “It’s overwhelming.” – AFP
Rescue personnel, hanging from a military helicopter, save a stranded resident from floods caused by Harvey in east Houston on Tuesday.