The state of Texas continues to battle with the devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey, and the danger is far from over as officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency expect more than 30,000 people to need shelter as a result of the rains and flooding that show no signs of letting up.
“The sheltering mission is going to be a very heavy lift,” FEMA administrator Brock Long said Monday, adding that up to 50 Texas counties are grappling with the damage done by the storm, according to USA Today.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke added during the same Monday-morning briefing in Washington, D.C. “Harvey is still a dangerous and historic storm.”
Some areas of southeast Texas around Houston have already seen more than 30 inches of rain, while many other regions have been pelted with 15-20 inches over the past 72 hours, the National Weather Service confirmed.
Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm, is currently somewhere over Port O’Connor, Texas, and is set to move back into the Gulf of Mexico sometime Monday, the National Hurricane Center said, according to the news site. It is expected to move across the gulf for a couple of days before once again hitting land in the United States, most likely Wednesday somewhere around the Texas-Louisiana border. It is then expected to move across Louisiana and Arkansas as a tropical depression from Thursday into Saturday.
However, even as it continues on offshore, the storm is expected to send down an additional 15-25 inches of rain throughout the week over the upper Texas coast and into southwestern Louisiana, doing nothing to ease the catastrophic flooding. The hurricane center expects that isolated storm totals may reach up to 50 inches over the upper Texas coast, which includes the Houston-Galveston area.
“Reliable weather forecasts still show taking whatever rain has already fallen around Houston and doubling it over the next four to five days,” WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue told USA Today.
More than 1,000 rescues have already been conducted since the flooding started to pick up late in the weekend. In one assisted living community in Dickinson, Texas, 18 people, including 15 senior citizens, were rescued hours after a horrific viral photo showed them sitting waist-deep in water.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that authorities had gotten more than 2,000 calls requesting help, and said that the city’s main convention center will now be opened as a shelter.
“I don’t need to tell anyone this is a very, very serious and unprecedented storm,” Turner said at a news conference. “We have several hundred structural flooding reports. We expect that number to rise pretty dramatically.”
Read more at USA Today.