Warning: Non-factual jokes in […] and in Blue
Packing 130-mph winds as a Category 4 hurricane when it hit the Texas coastal towns of Rockport and Port Aransas late Friday, Harvey collapsed buildings, launched boats into parking lots, shredded RV parks and left at least one person dead, officials said. Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said one person was discovered dead Saturday in his home.
Corpus Christi, Texas, saw downed trees and power lines, broken and twisted signs, debris in the roadway, widespread power outages and some roofs partially torn off.
Harvey, downgraded over the weekend to a tropical storm, overwhelmed Houston and the surrounding area with more than 20 inches of rain in 24 hours. Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District, called the rainfall totals “staggering.”
“This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced,” the National Weather Service tweeted.
The area could receive an unprecedented 50 inches of rain by week’s end, the weather service said.
The Coast Guard said Sunday it rescued more than 100 people from rooftops and conducted more than 2,000 multiperson rescues, with three-boat teams searching block-by-block for stranded residents.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted Sunday afternoon that his department had completed 90 flood rescue missions taking 1,100 residents to safety.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 600 boats were aiding rescue efforts, and the Coast Guard said at least 16 helicopters were tapped for air rescues, with more coming into the area by Monday.
Abbott declared a state of emergency for 50 counties, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide emergency declaration.
Over the next few days, Harvey is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 5 to 15 inches farther south toward the lower Texas coast, farther west toward the Texas Hill Country and farther east through southwest and central Louisiana, the weather service said Sunday.
Harvey will continue to produce “ongoing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding,” the weather service said.
The National Guard sent in 3,000 troops to Texas, the governor said Sunday.
“Assistance is pouring in from across the country,” Abbott said at the state’s emergency operations center in Austin. He said the National Guard troops were being activated in addition to hundreds of other state emergency personnel aiding local first responders.
States from as far away as California, New York, Arizona and Utah have pitched in with various resources, he said. The Red Cross is helping with day-to-day needs for Texans whose lives and property have been devastated.
Convoys of buses and a mobile hospital unit were on the way to Houston and the Gulf Coast, as were truckloads of food and volunteers, Abbott said.
NASA workers hunker down
Flight controllers and other essential personnel at NASA’s Johnson Space Center were “sheltering in place” on Sunday, officials said, as they maintained contact with the International Space Station.
Johnson Space Center, southeast of Houston, was scheduled to be closed on Monday to all but essential mission personnel. Flight controllers said they were in contact with the space station on Saturday, monitoring a rocket firing to raise the lab’s orbit slightly and put it on a proper trajectory for three crew members to depart next Saturday for a landing in Kazakhstan.
Federal emergency officials said the recovery after Harvey could last for years.
“This disaster is going to be a landmark event,” Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said Sunday on CNN. “We’re setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years.’’
President Trump said he’ll visit Texas on Tuesday. “Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!,” he tweeted. The White House on Sunday also released a summary of a conference call with Trump’s Cabinet, saying the president “continued to stress his expectation that all departments and agencies stay fully committed to supporting the governors of Texas and Louisiana and his No. 1 priority of saving lives.”