Houston, Texas. August 28th. President Trump tweeted about the storm this morning, saying “experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood,” but that the United States had “an all out effort going” in response to it. The response included the deployment of 3,000 national and state guard service members, 500 vehicles and 14 aircraft, officials said. Four hundred people have been deployed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in response to the danger, officials said, and 250 highway closures were established statewide.
Separately, officials announced two forthcoming reservoir releases that will likely impact thousands of homes in the Houston area, they said. Water from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs will be released early this week in an effort to mitigate flooding risks, officials with the U.S. Army Corps said.
Tropical Storm Harvey continued to drench the state, dropping up to 24 inches of rain on Houston in 24 hours and unleashing widespread flooding in one of the worst natural disasters in Texas history.
At least five people were reported dead, according to the National Weather Service in Houston, and authorities expect that number to climb as floodwaters recede.
With some areas bracing for 50 or more inches of rain — more rainfall than many Texas towns get in a year — the National Weather Service warned that “catastrophic” flooding in the nation’s fourth largest city was expected to worsen and could be “unprecedented.”
“Local rainfall amounts of 50 inches would exceed any previous Texas rainfall record,” the weather service said in a statement. “The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before.”
At a Sunday evening news conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that 911 operators had received 56,000 calls since 10 p.m. Saturday. Police and fire departments had received nearly 6,000 calls for rescues and rescued more than 1,000 people.
More than 20 helicopters flew across the city, identifying stranded residents and plucking them off roofs and highways.
“This is a storm that is testing the city of Houston,” Turner said earlier in the day. “I know for a fact that the city of Houston will rise to the occasion.”
Asked why there was no evacuation order — even in low-lying areas prone to flooding — Sylvester said the flooding was unprecedented and noted that the city was not in the direct line of the hurricane.
“So which neighborhood would you have to evacuate?” Turner said. “You literally cannot put 6.5 million [people] on the road. If you think the situation right now is bad — you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare.”
Across Houston, 911 calls went unanswered. Officials urged residents to be patient and call only if they found themselves in imminent danger.
The League City Police Department, located about 30 miles south of Houston, posted on Facebook that it was looking “for people with flat bottom or low water boats to assist with rescue and evacuation.”
“Please send LCPD a Facebook message with name, phone number, location of boat, length and style of boat if you can be mobile with your boat and are experienced in operation of the boat,” the League City police wrote.
Photo: Harvey inundates Houston with flooding “Beyond Anything Experienced Before”
Hospitals in the Houston area are making evacuations as flood waters rise in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Water flooded the basement of the Ben Taub General Hospital, disrupting food, pharmacy and central supply services. Ben Taub, one of only two comprehensive, level 1 trauma centers in Houston, says their concern now is finding ways to get critical care patients to safety.
Another hospital in Houston, Bayshore Medical Center, said this evening that all its 196 patients are being moved to the surrounding-area hospitals of Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, Conroe Regional Medical Center, Houston Northwest Medical Center, Kingwood Medical Center, Mainland Medical Center, Pearland Medical Center, Tomball Regional Medical Center and West Houston Medical Center.
Bayshore made the decision because of rising waters. It is suspending all services, including its 24-hour emergency medical center.
The Catastrophic Medical Operations Center, which coordinates all hospital evacuations in the area, warns there could be more.
Michael Walter, public information officer for CMOC, said that some hospitals evacuated before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. In the case of Ben Taub hospital, Walter said, evacuations will be made to affiliate hospitals located in the close vicinity.