Hurricane Harvey | KERA News

Hurricane Harvey

Port Aransas residents are just beginning to get a firsthand look at what happened to their homes and businesses after Harvey came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

When disaster strikes, stories often emerge about people who go above and beyond to serve others. People like Mattress Mack, the Houston business owner who invited Hurricane Harvey evacuees into his two giant furniture stores, even sending out trucks to pick up people who couldn't get there.

Houstonian Jim McIngvale, known as "Mattress Mack," has turned his two furniture stores into temporary shelters for Tropical Storm Harvey evacuees.

As the city started to flood, he posted a video online with a simple message: Come on over. He gave out his personal phone number. And hundreds of people streamed in.

Tropical Storm Harvey has brought the mighty Texas oil refining industry to its knees, at least temporarily, and Texas drivers are just starting to feel the pain.

Updated 10:50 p.m. ET

The medical examiner of Harris County, Texas, has confirmed five deaths directly stemming from Tropical Storm Harvey. A spokesperson for the office says another eight deaths that may be linked to the storm are awaiting autopsy.

The ME names four of the victims, including police Sgt. Steve Perez, whose death was announced Tuesday.

  • Alexander Kwoksum Sung, male, 64, place of death South Houston, caused by drowning/accident

Houston is grappling with a disaster of epic proportions from Hurricane Harvey, as the now-tropical storm continues to dump rain on the region. On Sunday, the death toll rose to eight, including a family of six who drowned in a van while trying to escape the rising waters.

The historic Houston flood of 2017 is deepening, and with it, there are more water rescues — at least 2,000 by Monday afternoon. People who believed that they could wait it out or that the water would go down are realizing they have to get out.

On Jan. 28, 1986, President Ronald Reagan was supposed to deliver the State of the Union.

Instead, he made a very different address to the nation that day, one that would transform the role of president, making it mandatory thereafter that presidents serve as consoler-in-chief.

5:05 p.m. President Trump has left Austin after meeting with state officials at the Texas Department of Public Safety.  

4:18 p.m. Trump again praised state relief efforts following Tropical Storm Harvey, according to pool reports. The president said the recovery is going to be long term, but that it would be a "costly proposition." 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Dallas, Fort Worth and Irving officials made preparations Monday to house evacuees from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.   

Jacqueline Woodfork drove through the rain and slept on a highway before she finally found shelter from the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey.

"I saw cars turning around because the rainfall was so heavy and because the exits were all flooded," says Woodfork, 29. Her car battery died on an elevated portion of Interstate 45 after she left her Houston apartment on Saturday.

Many of Tropical Storm Harvey's stranded flood victims haven't been able to get through to 911, compounding their fears. That's when Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor stepped in.

Annie Swinford is one of the many unofficial volunteers helping fellow Houstonians via the Facebook group Hurricane Harvey 2017 - Together We Will Make It.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Just days into one of the biggest storms to hit the U.S. in decades, authorities have rescued thousands of people in Houston alone. And as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, continue to rise across southeast Texas and neighboring Louisiana, officials expect that still thousands more evacuees will need to be sheltered in the days to come.

Courtesy Mia Mullins

For many Texans ravaged by the rain and winds Hurricane Harvey carried ashore this past weekend, filing an insurance claim for the damage their property sustained is probably the farthest thing from their minds right now. But waiting to submit a claim past Friday could cost them big.

The colors the National Weather Service uses to show rainfall on its weather map couldn't represent the deluge in southeastern Texas, so the NWS added two more purple shades to its map. The old scale topped out at more than 15 inches; the new limit tops 30 inches.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Nearly three days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, more statewide resources were deployed to address rescue efforts in Southeast Texas Monday.

The scale of the catastrophe hitting southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana has residents struggling to protect their lives and property, as up to 50 inches of rain is forecast to hit some areas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey this week.

For a sign of the conditions in Houston and nearby areas, consider this: The U.S. Coast Guard says it's "conducting urban search and rescue in the city of Houston."

Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

Walking the soggy streets of her League City neighborhood, Diane Alston said she was “heartbroken” that so many people waited out Harvey’s steady rains from inside their flooding homes, following instructions from local officials.

Updated at 5:07 p.m.

As historic flooding continues in Houston, President Trump said federal money for areas affected by Tropical Storm Harvey would arrive quickly.

"You're going to have what you need and it's going to go fast," he said at a joint news conference Monday afternoon with the president of Finland.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

In Houston, reservoirs swollen by rain from Hurricane Harvey were opened early Monday, a move that was expected to flood more homes — but one that the Army Corps of Engineers says is needed to limit the scope of the disaster that's threatening lives and property in Texas.

The catastrophic flooding in southeast Texas from now-Tropical Storm Harvey is grim, but amidst the disaster, there's also some good news.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Houstonian Lorrine Adamore is holed up in one of the three shelters Dallas set up for people fleeing Hurricane Harvey.

It’s a familiar feeling: 12 years ago she was rescued by boat when her New Orleans home was swamped by Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — As the sun set Sunday on a flood-ravaged Houston, a nagging uncertainty surrounding Tropical Storm Harvey’s next move persisted.

The remnants of now-Tropical Storm Harvey have all but parked over south Texas and the storm is inundating the region around Houston with "unprecedented" rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Houstonians have been stranded in their homes, and some of those who were on the roads were in need of rescue as areas of Houston received as much as two feet of rain with no immediate end in sight.

Then-Hurricane Harvey made landfall late Friday evening near Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane, one of the strongest storms to make landfall in recent history.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

After reaching the Texas as a Category 4 hurricane late on Aug. 25, a weakened Harvey inundated cities and communities along the coast and further inland with catastrophic flooding.

North Texas weather wasn't affected much by the storm, but residents can help during the emergency period in several ways.  

Updated at 7:04 p.m.

The National Weather Center is calling Tropical Storm Harvey "unprecedented" and says all impacts are unknown. The agency now reports rainfall from the storm could reach 50 inches — the highest ever recorded in Texas. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says this "disaster is going to be a landmark event."

Hurricane Harvey is the first test of the Trump administration's response to a natural disaster. And much of that responsibility falls on the shoulder of the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, William "Brock" Long.

Long was confirmed as FEMA administrator by the Senate in June, just a few months ago, but he is not exactly a stranger to the agency. He was a regional manager there during the George W. Bush administration, and he went on to serve as Alabama's emergency management director.

"Top of the top"

Updated at 1:30 a.m. ET Monday

At least two people have been killed as the Houston area continues to be inundated by torrential rain and catastrophic flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey, which officials called an "unprecedented" weather event that has left thousands of homes flooded, stranding some people and overwhelming rescue workers.

Brandon Formby / The Texas Tribune

ROCKPORT — As Ruben Sazon waited out Hurricane Harvey in his apartment Friday, he was certain that his roof was going to be ripped off.

Updated at 11:30 p.m.

One person is dead in Rockport in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, according Aransas County officials. Another person is confirmed dead in Houston, as unprecedented rainfall brings flooding across Southeast Texas. As it continues to linger, state officials are urging Texans to expect persistent rains and underscoring the potential for life-threatening floods for the next few days across the state. Hundreds of thousands are without power along the coast, where cleanup efforts are just beginning.

Hurricane Harvey left a lot of damage — not only along the Texas coastal towns where it made landfall Friday, but also in communities like Sienna Plantation, in Missouri City, about 20 miles south of Houston.

"It's true when they tell you that it sounds like a freight train coming through," Linda Varnado says, "because that's what it is ... and it's a sound that I don't want to hear ever again."

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