Trump visits Texas to survey destruction
Lashing rain continued to pound Houston on Tuesday, falling on people who desperately sought groceries or trudged through water in search of shelter. The streets downtown were littered with abandoned cars, and almost no stores appeared to be open, though people said they needed food and supplies.
The National Weather Service reported that more than 42 inches of rain had already fallen in Houston due to Harvey. Some parts of Louisiana have also seen more than a foot of rain, and flash flood warnings and watches were in effect for much of the Lake Charles region as the rain is expected to continue. New Orleans was under a tornado and flash flood watch until Thursday.
In Texas, one of the two massive stormwater reservoirs to the west of downtown Houston began spilling over — despite U.S. Army Corps of Engineers efforts Monday to release water as water levels in the reservoirs swelled to record levels.
The Army Corps of Engineers said that water was spilling out from around the dam gates of the Addicks Reservoir, and officials also said they expect the Barker Reservoir — to the south of Addicks — to also begin overflowing some time Tuesday. Near the Barker dam, helicopters were attempting to rescue families, while some people spent their morning hopping onto jet skis and into boats to help as well.
Harvey continued grinding toward the northeast, with its center expected to be just off the upper Texas coast through Tuesday night, the National Hurricane Center said. After that, the storm is forecast to move inland on the northwestern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
Forecasters say more than a foot of additional rain is still expected to fall through Friday over parts of the Texas coast and Louisiana, and the National Weather Service warned Tuesday of potential flooding in southern Mississippi as well as southeastern Louisiana.
Trump arrived in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Tuesday morning, and intended to visit Austin, the capital, later in the day. His spokeswoman told reporters on Air Force Once that Trump would visit “a different part of the state” on Saturday, while he has also discussed visiting Louisiana the same day.
During a news briefing in Corpus Christi, Trump praised the response from local officials in Texas as well as federal authorities who were grappling with the devastating storm. He also spoke to a group that had gathered to see him.
“This is historic, it’s epic what happened, but you know what, it happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything,” he told the crowd, which applauded his remarks and cheered more loudly when he waved the Texas state flag.
When Trump arrived, about 50 apparent supporters had gathered near the runway to wave signs bearing his name and welcome him. Suzanne Guggenheim, wearing a red hat bearing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, said she felt he had handled the disaster well.
A small group of young Democrats protested Trump’s arrival. Marco Garcia, chairman of the Texas Young Democrats Latinx Caucus, called Trump’s visit disrespectful of the region and of the nation’s Latino community.
“Trump should be focusing on getting help to the people who need it, not taking resources by tying up the roads and creating chaos in this region that needs so much help,” said Garcia, a 24-yearold business management major at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, who said he has been helping evacuees from Rockport who have no shoes or food.