Tropical Storm Harvey Threatens 'Catastrophic' Flooding; 1 Death Confirmed In Rockport | KERA News

Tropical Storm Harvey Threatens 'Catastrophic' Flooding; 1 Death Confirmed In Rockport

Aug 26, 2017

Updated, 5:10 p.m. Saturday. For Sunday's updates, click here.

One death from Harvey has been confirmed in Rockport, Texas where the former hurricane delivered a direct blow.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Aransas County Judge C.H. "Burt" Mills Jr. also says 12 to 14 people were injured by Harvey.

Since landfall Friday night, Harvey has weakened to a tropical storm, but the National Hurricane Center urges that the storm's most destructive effects are just beginning. The center says "catastrophic and life-threatening flooding" in east-central Texas — 15 to 25 inches of rain, and in some isolated areas, 40 — is expected through the middle of next week. 

Tornado warnings also have been issued for parts of the middle and upper Texas coast.

Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Saturday in Austin that he's working with local officials and seeking information about the storm. Abbott said as many as 338,000 along the coast are without power. 

KUT in Austin reports: "He also pledged to send as many as 1,800 state service members to the coast to assist in relief efforts, and said that Texas state parks are prepared to accommodate as many as 1,500 evacuees." 

Harvey made landfall near Rockport just before 10 p.m. Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds sustained at 130 mph. It weakened once it made landfall, with winds decreasing to 90 mph, and was downgraded to a Category 1 as of 5 a.m. Saturday and later in the afternoon, to a tropical storm.

Rockport devastated

Rockport Mayor Charles Wax says Hurricane Harvey hit his coastal community "right on the nose" and left "widespread devastation."

Wax told The Weather Channel on Saturday morning that some homes and businesses were heavily damaged or even completely destroyed. Schools were also damaged.

He says emergency response system for the city of about 10,000 people has been hampered by the loss of cellphone service and other forms of communication.

The city manager in Rockport says multiple people have been taken to the county's jail for assessment and treatment after the roof of a senior housing complex collapsed, the Associated Press reports.

KIII-TV reports that 10 people have been treated in Rockport since Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast city Friday night. 

'Massive' destruction in Port Aransas

The mayor of Port Aransas says officials haven't been able to determine how much destruction was caused by Harvey because of the "massive" amount of damage. 

The Associated Press reports:

"Mayor Charles Bujan said Saturday afternoon that no injuries or fatalities have been found in Port Aransas so far. He said that with the help of heavy equipment, authorities have only made it into the northernmost street in the city."

Fort Bend suffers damage by possible tornado

Houston Public Media reports that several dozen homes were damaged early Saturday morning by a possible tornado. The National Weather Service is investigating to confirm. 

"Officials say between 50 and 100 homes were damaged by a possible tornado in Fort Bend County overnight. In the first 24 hours of rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, parts of Fort Bend county have already recorded 9 inches of rain.

"Alan Spears, Deputy Emergency Management coordinator for Fort Bend County, says severe weather hit the Sienna Plantation subdivision around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday." 

Read more for updates on the Houston area.

Inmates moved

Texas officials say they are evacuating about 4,500 inmates from three state prisons in Brazoria County because the nearby Brazos River is rising from Hurricane Harvey's heavy rain.

The Department of Criminal Justice says inmates from the Ramsey, Terrell, and Stringfellow Units in Rosharon are being taken by bus to other prisons in East Texas.

More scenes from the storm

Track Harvey's path

Harvey is the first major hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in September 2008 brought winds of 110 mph to the Galveston and Houston areas and left $22 billion in damage. 

According to the National Weather Service, the last time a Category 4 storm hit Texas was Hurricane Carla in 1961. 

Dallas opens second shelter

The American Red Cross is working with the Dallas Office of Emergency Management to open and manage a second shelter for Harvey evacuees at the Tommie Allen Recreation Center, 7071 Bonnie View Road.

Dallas opened its first shelter Friday afternoon at Walnut Hill Recreation Center, 10011 Midway Road, per the request of state officials. 

The Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center could also be used as an emergency shelter if needed, according to a news release. The center's parking structure would be used as a shelter. Events or shows currently booked will not be affected.

All other shelters would be consolidated into a "mega shelter" at the convention center, if needed.  

City officials also encourage evacuees to call 2-1-1 for information on shelters.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a list of ways North Texans can help during the storm.

North Texas weather impact

Rain from Harvey is possible in North Texas Saturday, but flooding is a threat for areas farther south, WFAA's Pete Delkus reports.

Texans gets state, federal assistance

President Donald Trump Friday night granted Gov. Greg Abbott's request for a disaster declaration, which allows for individual assistance and federal reimbursement for state costs. 

Abbott said all state parks would be free for evacuees to take refuge during the emergency period. He has also suspended hotel occupancy taxes through Sept. 6.

Abbott on Thursday activated about 700 members of the state National Guard ahead of Harvey making landfall.

The day before, Abbott ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level and is making state resources available for preparation and possible rescue and recovery actions.

He also preemptively declared a state of disaster for 30 counties on or near the coast to speed deployment of state resources. On Saturday, he added 20 more counties

For more information about Harvey from across Texas, check out our partners: KUT in Austin, TPR in San Antonio, Houston Public Media and The Texas Tribune.

For earlier developments, read our post from Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.