Houston Disaster Latest

Around 2,000 Houston residents have been rescued as Tropical Storm Harvey’s heavy rains continue to cause catastrophic flooding in and around the Texan city.

Chief Darryl Coleman, of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said investigations are ongoing into reports of possible deaths in submerged vehicles.

Greg Abbott, Texas Governor, said it could not be confirmed at this stage whether there had been any storm-related deaths, while The National Weather Service (NWS) said travel across the Houston Metro Area was “near impossible” due to the ‘unprecedented’ weather conditions.

A number of shelters have been opened up across the city to provide support to those affected by the floods.

Around 250 roads and motorways were closed in Texas according to Governor Abbott, while President Donald Trump granted a federal disaster declaration for 19 counties.

Mr Abbott added: “There is a triangle of ongoing rain in Houston, Victoria and Corpus Christi cities, and we’re set to continue receiving incredibly heavy rain in the coming days.”

Residents have been urged by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner not to phone emergency services unless their life is at risk, and they are in need of rescue.

Harris County officials have appealed for residents with boats to assist with the rescue efforts.  

Both of Houston’s airports - Bush Airport and Hobby Airport - were shut, with runways completely flooded.

President Trump has paid a visit to Texas to survey the damage caused by the storm.

At 14:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on Sunday the 27th August, the NWS said Houston had had an August rainfall total of 25.50in (64.8cm), making it the wettest month on record.

Curfew to prevent looting after floods

A night-time curfew has been put on Houston as the American city struggles to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Large areas of the city in Texas have been left underwater after the storm hit Houston with record rainfall; destroying homes and reportedly killing more than 20 people.

Sylvester Turner, Houston mayor, said the city was placed under a curfew to prevent homes from being robbed and looted.

After hovering offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, Storm Harvey, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, has made landfall again in Louisiana.

New Orleans, which was hit badly by Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago, is set to receive in the region of 25cm of heavy rainfall in the coming days; with a major risk of flash flooding.

The curfew on Houston has been put in place between 00:00-05:00 local time, and will run for an indefinite period. There is an exemption for relief volunteers, first responders and commuters.

It will help to prevent looting of evacuated homes and has been put in force “only to prevent potential acts of crime”, Mr Turner said.

Thousands of residents have been forced to flee their properties to find emergency shelter amid the severe flooding.

After visiting Texas last week to survey the storm damage, President Donald Trump said he wanted the relief effort to be an example of how to react to a storm.

The rainfall in Texas set a new record for the continental US, the National Weather Service said on Tuesday. A rain gauge in Cedar Bayou recorded nearly 52in of rain since Friday.

In excess of 13,000 people have now been rescued from the affected areas.