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Weather Service Says Harvey is Unlike Anything They've Seen


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HOUSTON --Flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey is overburdening resources as authorities in and around Houston scramble to save those trapped by the high waters.

Hopes for an immediate respite from Harvey's wrath seem unlikely as the National Weather Service calls the flooding "unprecedented" and warns things may become more dire if a record-breaking 50 inches of rain falls on parts of Texas in coming days.

The rainfall threatens to exacerbate an already dangerous situation, as Harvey's rains have left many east Texas rivers and bayous swollen to their banks or beyond.
Harrowing tales from Houston

"The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before," the weather service said. "Catastrophic flooding is now underway and expected to continue for days."

Rescue workers in Houston and other parts of Texas renewed search efforts Sunday for residents trapped in their homes by Tropical Storm Harvey's rising floodwaters.

More than 1,000 people were rescued overnight from record flooding in the area, authorities said. The storm so far has killed two people in Texas, said authorities, who added they expect the death toll to rise.

Law enforcement agencies advised people trapped in their houses not to take shelter in their attics unless they carried axes so they could break through to their roofs and within sight of rescue workers.

Here are the latest developments:

  • At least two people have died so far in the storm: a woman who drove her vehicle into high water in Houston and a man killed by a fire in Rockport.
  • Florida, Virginia and New York are sending emergency workers and equipment to Texas. "After Superstorm Sandy, so many cities stepped up to help our people.
  • We'll do all we can to help those affected by this storm," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter.
  • Harvey may soon weaken into a tropical depression, but the storm has stalled and will keep pounding the region with rain and wind through the coming week and probably cause "catastrophic" flooding, forecasters said. "It's going to last four to five days," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
  • Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the recovery effort will take a long time. "FEMA is going to be there for years," he said.
  • 316,000 customers lost electricity because of the storm, Gov. Greg Abbott said.
  • Abbott has activated 3,000 national guard and state guard service members. They will bring 500 vehicles and 14 aircraft, and will open six shelters, he said.
  • Houston's William P. Hobby Airport is closed until Wednesday due to flooding, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Ben Taub Hospital is being evacuated because of flooding problems in the basement that have disrupted the power source," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmet. "Critical patients are being moved first, and those patients will be moved in a number of different locations throughout the community."
  • The Red Cross is serving about 130,000 meals a day, the governor said.

People told CNN they were stranded in houses and hotels and hoped for help now that morning has come to Texas.

"We are still stranded in our home with little kids and the water keeps rising," Houston resident Janet Castillo told CNN on Sunday morning. "We have called already to several numbers but no luck. We have (tried) but their lines are all busy or they don't answer."

Jake Lewis said he woke up to ankle-deep water in the Houston hotel where he was staying.

"We have nowhere to go," said Lewis, of New Braunfels, Texas. "If you go out and look at the service road it's flooded. I have a 2016 Chevy Silverado and the water is up to the door panels. The water keeps rising."

One of two confirmed fatalities in the ferocious storm happened in Houston when a woman drove her vehicle into high water, city police said. Police said they believe the car became inoperable or the water was too high to pass through. The victim got out of her vehicle, was overtaken by flood waters and drowned.