Harvey moves into Louisiana with at least 35 dead, 17 missing
Tropical Storm Harvey spun across southeast Texas into Louisiana on Wednesday, sending more people fleeing for shelter after swamping Houston with record rains and flooding that killed at least 35 people and drove tens of thousands from their homes.
The storm has forced 32,000 people into shelters since coming ashore on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century. On Wednesday, it pummeled the coast from Port Arthur, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana. (GRAPHIC: Storms in the North Atlantic - tmsnrt.rs/2gcckz5)
Harvey weakened to a tropical depression on Wednesday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, but warned that “catastrophic and life threatening flooding will continue in and around Houston, Beaumont/Port Arthur, eastward into southwest Louisiana for the rest of the week.”
The latest reported deaths included a married couple who drowned while driving through high water near Simonton, Texas, Major Chad Norvell of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter. The Houston Chronicle identified the victims as Donald and Rochelle Rogers of Katy, Texas.
Houston’s KHOU-TV said an infant girl was swept away after her parents got out of their pickup truck near New Waverly, Texas, and tried to carry her across rushing water.
Police in Harris County, home to Houston, said 17 people remained missing.
Busloads of people fleeing floodwaters around Port Arthur arrived in Lake Charles, joining residents who had packed into shelters to escape waterlogged homes. About 250,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas and Louisiana, figures from four utilities showed.
Harvey was forecast to drop a further 4 to 8 inches ( 10 to 20 cms) of rain on Wednesday, with a storm surge of up to 4 feet (1.2 m) along the western part of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, although the Houston area was finally expected to get a break, with no rain forecast for Thursday or Friday.
The floods shut the nation’s largest oil refinery in Port Arthur in the latest hit to U.S. energy infrastructure that has sent gasoline prices climbing and disrupted global fuel supplies