Har­vey’s sec­ond land­fall

> Louisiana braces for heavy winds and rain

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

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

REUTERSPIX

Res­cue per­son­nel, hang­ing from a mil­i­tary he­li­copter, save a stranded res­i­dent from floods caused by Har­vey in east Houston on Tues­day.

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