Flood lev­els start to drop but death toll rises as the wa­ter gives up bod­ies

The Scotsman - - World News - By NOMAAN MERCHANT news­deskts@scots­man.com

Storm Har­vey’s flood­wa­ters have started drop­ping across much of the Houston area and the sun peeked through thin­ning clouds in the first glim­mer of hope in days for the be­sieged US city.

But the cri­sis is far from over, and the storm has be­gun to give up more of its dead.

The num­ber of con­firmed deaths rose to at least 22 af­ter au­thor­i­ties found the sub­merged van in which six mem­bers of a Houston fam­ily, in­clud­ing four chil­dren, were be­lieved to have died when the ve­hi­cle was swept off a bridge.

The bod­ies of at least two adults were spot­ted in­side in the murky wa­ter, au­thor­i­ties said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it seems that our worst thoughts are be­ing re­alised,” said Har­ris County Sher­iff Ed Gon­za­lez.while con­di­tions in Houston ap­peared to im­prove, the dis­as­ter took a turn for the worse along the Texas-louisiana state line.

The Texas com­mu­ni­ties of Beau­mont and Port Arthur strug­gled with ris­ing flood­wa­ters and worked to evac­u­ate res­i­dents af­ter Har­vey rolled ashore early yes­ter­day for the sec­ond time in six days, hit­ting south-western Louisiana as a trop­i­cal storm with winds of 45mph and heavy rain.

For much of the rest of the Houston area, fore­cast­ers said the rain is pretty much over and the wa­ter is al­ready back within its chan­nels in some places.

“We have good news,” said Jeff Lind­ner, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the Har­ris County Flood Con­trol District. “The wa­ter lev­els are go­ing down. And that’s for the first time in sev­eral days.”

Also, the wa­ter in two reser­voirs that pro­tect down­town Houston from flood­ing was likely to have crested yes­ter­day at lev­els slightly be­low those that were fore­cast, of­fi­cials said.

Nev­er­the­less, many thou­sands of homes in and around the na­tion’s fourth-largest city were still swamped and could stay that way for days or longer.

Some Houston-area neigh­bour­hoods were still in dan­ger of more flood­ing from a levee breach. And of­fi­cials said emer­gency call cen­tres in the Houston area were still get­ting more than 1,000 calls an hour from peo­ple seek­ing help.

Au­thor­i­ties ex­pect the death toll to rise as the wa­ters re­cede and they are able to take full stock of the de­struc­tion wrought by the hur­ri­cane.

The dead in­clude a man who tried to swim across a flooded road­way, a for­mer foot­ball and track coach in sub­ur­ban Houston and a woman who died af­ter she and her young daugh­ter were swept into a rain-swollen drainage canal. The child was res­cued cling­ing to her dead mother.

0 Lo­cal res­i­dents are car­ried from an air boat op­er­ated by vol­un­teers from San An­to­nio af­ter be­ing res­cued from flood­ing in Houston caused by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey

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