Remnants of Harvey Still Powerful Enough to Threaten Floods - NBC Chicago
Harvey Aftermath

Harvey Aftermath

Harvey was a category 4 hurricane then became a flooding event on the Texas Gulf Coast

Remnants of Harvey Still Powerful Enough to Threaten Floods

Houston's mayor urged those who have remained in homes filled with water to leave before he is forced to issue a mandatory evacuation and force them from their homes

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott gives the latest on Harvey in Austin on Friday, September 1st. (Published Friday, Sept. 1, 2017)

    Even a week after it slammed into the Texas coast, Harvey retained enough rain-making power Friday to raise the risk of flooding as far north as Indiana. Back in Houston, officials tried to safeguard parts of their devastated city by intentionally flooding others.

    The mayor announced plans to release water from two reservoirs that could keep as many as 20,000 homes flooded for up to 15 days.

    In another Texas city with no drinking water, people waited in a line that stretched for more than a mile to get bottled water while others awaited evacuation flights.

    Residents of the still-flooded western part of Houston were told Friday to evacuate ahead of the planned release from two reservoirs protecting downtown. The move was expected to flood homes that were inundated earlier in the week. Homes that are not currently flooded probably will not be affected, officials said.

    Video Shows Time-Lapse of Long Gas Station Lines

    [NATL-DFW] Video Shows Time-Lapse of Long Gas Station Lines

    A time-lapsed sky cam shot shows cars lining up at a North Texas gas station. The sped up video shows the activity within a 2 hour time period.

    (Published Friday, Sept. 1, 2017)

    It could take three months for the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, which are normally dry, to drain. The Harris County Flood Control District said it had to continue releasing water to protect their structural integrity and in case more heavy rain falls.

    Some of the affected houses have several feet (meters) of water in them, and the water reaches to the rooftops of others, district meteorologist Jeff Lindner said.

    Mayor Sylvester Turner pleaded for more high-water vehicles and more search-and-rescue equipment as the nation's fourth-largest city continued looking for any survivors or corpses that might have somehow escaped notice in flood-ravaged neighborhoods.

    Turner also asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide more workers to process applications from thousands of people seeking government help. Harvey victims expect FEMA to work "with the greatest degree of urgency," he told CBS "This Morning" for a segment broadcast Friday.

    The mayor said he will request a preliminary aid package of $75 million for debris removal alone.

    The storm had lost most of its tropical characteristics but remained a formidable source of heavy rain as it moved into the Ohio Valley, according to the National Hurricane Center.

    More than 1,500 people were staying at shelters in Louisiana, and that number included people from communities in Texas. The state opened a seventh shelter Friday in Shreveport for up to 2,400 people, said Shauna Sanford, a spokeswoman for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

    The Texas city of Beaumont, home to almost 120,000 people near the Louisiana state line, was trying to bring in enough bottled water for people who stayed behind after a water pumping station was overwhelmed by the swollen Neches River.

    One Houston-area man returned to his flooded house to discover a 9-foot (nearly 3-meter) alligator inside, KTRK-TV reported Friday. Emergency crews were called, and it took four men to carry away the reptile, whose mouth was taped shut.

    Authorities raised the death toll from the storm to 41 late Thursday, while rescue workers conducted a block-by-block search of tens of thousands of Houston homes.

    The latest statewide damage surveys showed the extent of destruction.

    An estimated 156,000 dwellings in Harris County, or more than 10 percent of all structures in the county database, were damaged by flooding, according to the flood control district for the county, which includes Houston.

    Lindner called that a conservative estimate.

    Figures from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicated that nearly 87,000 homes had major or minor damage and at least 6,800 were destroyed.

    Gov. Greg Abbott warned Friday in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that it could take years for Texas to "dig out from this catastrophe." President Donald Trump tweeted that there's still "so much to do" in Texas' recovery.

    In Beaumont, people waited Friday in a line of cars that stretched more than a mile at a water-distribution center at a high school football field. Each vehicle received one case. Earlier, people stood in line at a Kroger grocery store that was giving away gallon jugs of water, which were gone in two hours.

    The water supply for the Bolivar Peninsula southeast of Houston was expected to run out within days, and could be out for weeks, after a pumping station 30 miles away was submerged by floodwater, Galveston County officials said.

    About 2,000 people live year-round on the 27-mile (43.45-kilometer) long peninsula, a narrow strip of land in the Gulf of Mexico.

    People fleeing the flooding were being bused to the Beaumont airport where airplanes and helicopters waited to fly them to Dallas and elsewhere. Air ambulances were on standby for those with critical medical needs.

    About 1,800 people were staying in shelters in Dallas, including about 1,000 who were flown late Thursday from Beaumont, officials said. Most were taken to the Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, but others went to smaller shelters in the area.

    Drivers had been urged to wait three or four days to fill up gas tanks after widespread reports of gas shortages caused panic-buying and empty fuel pumps. But on Friday, the governor said there was no danger of running out after a pipeline that had been supplying gasoline from Texas to Oklahoma was reversed. More fuel was being shipped in from surrounding states.

    Harvey initially came ashore Aug. 25 as a Category 4 hurricane, then went back out to sea and lingered off the coast as a tropical storm for days. The storm brought five straight days of rain totaling close to 52 inches (1.3 meters), the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental U.S.

    Far out over the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma was following a course that could bring it near the eastern Caribbean Sea by early next week. The Category 2 storm was moving northwest at nearly 13 mph (20 kph). No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.