Trump Aims To Avoid Disrupting Harvey Recovery

Lupe Tijerina, left, and Andy Guerra, center, and Felix Tijerina, right, work to salvage items from their family home that was destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Rockport, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

HOUSTON -- The Latest on Tropical Storm Harvey (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

A spokeswoman says President Donald Trump wants to be "very cautious" about making sure that his activities in Texas don't disrupt Harvey recovery efforts.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump's stops Tuesday in Corpus Christi and Austin are intended to highlight coordination at all levels of government and lay the groundwork for what is expected to be a lengthy recovery after the storm.

Trump traveled with the Cabinet secretaries of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, and the head of the Small Business Administration. Sanders says the secretaries will meet with their Texas counterparts.

Air Force One flew a path to Corpus Christi that avoided flying over Houston, where much of the downtown area is under water

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11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump's 2020-re-election campaign committee is encouraging supporters to donate to disaster relief efforts for those affected by Harvey.

A note Tuesday to the more than 10 million email addresses the campaign has collected links to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way and local animal rescue operations. The email encourages people to "help our fellow Americans in need."

Harvey made landfall four days ago as the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years. It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Trump is visiting Texas later Tuesday as rains continue to pound the already flooded Houston area.

Lara Trump, an adviser to her father-in-law's re-election campaign, says in the email that this "is a time to come together as a nation to support those in need."

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11:25 a.m.

Beyonce says she's working with her charity to assist those in her hometown affected by the flooding from Harvey.

The Houston native said in a statement to The Houston Chronicle late Monday that "my heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected."

Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson formed Destiny's Child as teenagers in Houston.

Harvey made landfall four days ago as the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years.

Beyonce said she's praying "for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined." The singer said she is working closely with her organization BeyGOOD and her pastor to find ways to help those affected.

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11:20 a.m.

A Harris County official says swift currents in the Houston Ship Channel caused by recent heavy rain could damage pipelines buried in the river bed.

Jeff Lindner, of the Harris County Flood Control District, says the pipelines could be subject to "scouring," when the fast-moving water washes away the cover over buried pipelines, exposing them and making them more liable to break.

During flooding in 1994 caused by about 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain in the Houston area, eight pipelines broke across the San Jacinto basin, spilling almost 1.5 million gallons of oil and petroleum products. The National Transportation Safety Board says more than 500 people suffered injuries, mostly minor burns, when fuel from those pipeline breaks ignited.

Hundreds of petrochemical industry pipelines crisscross Houston and southeast Texas, carrying crude oil, highly flammable fuels such as gasoline, and explosive natural gas.

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11:05 a.m.

Officials say a levee near a subdivision of homes in a county south of Houston has been breached and water is pouring into the area.

Brazoria County posted this message on Twitter on Tuesday morning: "NOTICE: The levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!! GET OUT NOW!!"

Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta says that the water has come over the levee in the northeast part of the subdivision and is starting to fill the area.

He says residents were told that at some point the levee would be "overtopped." He said that a mandatory evacuation order was issued Sunday.

Sebesta says there are hundreds of homes there. He says hopefully "very few" are still in the area.

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11:00 a.m.

The George R. Brown Convention Center is rapidly approaching double its original estimated capacity for evacuees from Harvey.

A Red Cross spokesman said Tuesday morning that a total of around 9,000 people have arrived at the convention center since the storm struck over the weekend. Groups of people escaping flooding arrived through the night and continue to enter.

The Red Cross had 5,000 cots. Volunteers pulled cots closer together, but many people had to sleep on chairs or the floor. Across the gray convention hall floor, people laid out towels, blankets and strips of cardboard.

The city hasn't said Tuesday whether it will open another shelter the size of George R. Brown.

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10:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a relatively small amount of rain Tuesday in the Houston area, only 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 centimeters) - perhaps a little less in Houston proper.

The National Hurricane Center, though is still saying "relentless torrential rains" will continue over southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. The center forecasts another 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain across the upper Texas coast through Friday.

Already four spots in Houston have recorded more than 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain, with the weather service's forecast office topping the list at more than 42 inches (105 centimeters). Twenty different locations in Houston have recorded more than 3 feet (90 centimeters) of rain.

Harvey continues to move slowly east over the Gulf of Mexico maintaining tropical storm force winds of 45 mph (72 kph). It is expected to make landfall again Wednesday morning, probably in southwestern Louisiana.

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10:25 a.m.

Houston-area residents who lost their pets in the scramble to escape Harvey flooding can stop by a shelter to see if the animals have been found.

The Harris County Animal Shelter says it will be open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to allow owners to reclaim their lost pets. Shelter officials say no animals been taken in since Saturday, so any pets lost since then are not at the facility.

A three-day hold requirement for strays has been temporarily lifted in an effort to move animals out of the shelter as soon as possible during the natural disaster.

For now the shelter is not accepting additional animals due to limited staffing. Phone inquiries are not being accepted.

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10:15 a.m.

The American Red Cross says there are more than 17,000 people in Texas seeking refuge in shelters.

Red Cross spokesman Don Lauritzen said Tuesday that there are 45 shelters in the Houston area, along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere. He says more are opening in Louisiana.

The shelter in Texas holding the most people is the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston with upward of 9,000.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Tuesday that the cavernous Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in that city is ready to hold upward of 5,000 people.

But Rawlings says it's not clear how many people will be housed at the Hutchison center because of the difficulty those in the Houston area are having finding dry roads and highways to travel along.

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10:05 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is warning the people of Southeast Texas that Harvey is still dangerous and that life-threatening flooding will continue.

Pence is urging residents to continue to listen their state and local officials. He commented during interviews Tuesday with radio stations serving Corpus Christi and San Antonio.

Houston has been paralyzed by a storm that struck on Friday and has been parked over the Gulf Coast ever since. More than 30 inches (75 centimeters) of rain has fallen in some areas and nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) more is expected, leading authorities to fear the worst might be yet to come.

Pence says he and his wife, Karen, will visit the region later this week.

President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, were scheduled to visit Corpus Christi and Austin on Tuesday.

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9:30 a.m.

Two Houston reservoirs are overflowing, despite a controlled water release that aimed to prevent flooding downtown.

The Addicks and Barker reservoirs are both at record high levels due to days of heavy rain. Army Corps of Engineers officials have been releasing water from both, but the amount of water entering exceeds the amount being released, sending floodwaters over spillways.

Jeff Lindner, with the Harris County Flood Control District, said Tuesday that he's certain that more homes and streets will flood as a result. Lindner says the county is trying to determine where the water will go, specifically from the north end of the Addicks reservoir.

He says some homes will be inundated "for up to a month."

The flood gauge at the Barker reservoir is overwhelmed and disabled and officials are worried the Addicks gauge also will fail.

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9:10 a.m.

Texas residents can get free replacements for their legal identification if it was lost or left behind when rain and flooding from Harvey forced them from their homes.

The Texas Department of Public Safety announced late Monday that any driver's license office will provide replacement driver's licenses or identification cards at no cost.

The offer applies to anyone who previously had such documents and lives in a county that Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a disaster area.

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This item has been corrected to show the announcement came late Monday, not Tuesday.

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8:35 a.m.

A western Michigan company is sending about 2,000 kayaks to Texas and Louisiana to help with flooding relief and rescue efforts amid Harvey's onslaught.

On Monday, rain-fed floods reached the rooflines of some single-story homes in Houston and surrounding communities. Officials have received thousands of pleas for rescue. Boats and kayaks are being used to reach people stranded on rooftops.

WOOD-TV reports that retailer Walmart is buying the kayaks from Muskegon-based KL Outdoor.

KL Outdoor Chief Executive Chuck Smith tells the television station that his company is covering the shipping costs. Some kayaks were sent out Monday. The rest are expected to be put on trucks Tuesday.

Harvey made landfall late Friday along the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane and is now a tropical storm.

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8:20 a.m.

A fire official says 11 people were rescued from fast-moving floodwaters in northwest Houston after a private rescue boat capsized.

Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department spokesman David Padovan said Tuesday that the people who fell from the boat clung to trees to avoid being carried away by the current.

A Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter provided a floodlight early Tuesday to guide rescuers to the people in the water.

Padovan says it appears the people were being evacuated from their homes in a flooded Houston subdivision and were being taken to dry ground when the boat capsized.

It's not clear what caused the craft to roll.

The rescued people were treated for cuts, abrasions and mild hypothermia.

Harvey has been dumping torrential rain on Texas since Sunday, causing catastrophic flooding across the state and in particular on Houston and the surrounding area.

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8:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is making an all-out push to show the federal government's responsiveness to the massive storm that has lashed the Texas coast and caused catastrophic flooding.

Trump will travel to Texas on Tuesday for briefings on the federal government's work to help the state recover from Harvey's devastation.

The storm marks the first time Trump has been tested by a major natural disaster at the start of his administration.

The president was scheduled to get briefings on the relief efforts in Corpus Christi, Texas, and later meet with state officials at the emergency operations center in Austin. The president will be joined by first lady Melania Trump.

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8 a.m.

Two more Texas prisons near the rising Brazos River are being evacuated.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says the 1,400 inmates at the Vance and Jester 3 Units in Richmond, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Houston, are being taken Tuesday by agency buses to other prisons in South Texas.

That brings to nearly 6,000 the number of prisoners displaced by Harvey, which made landfall Friday as a hurricane and is now a tropical storm.

The state corrections department earlier moved 4,500 inmates from the Terrell, Stringfellow, and Ramsey Units in Brazoria County, south of Houston, to prisons in East Texas.

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6:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service says rain is falling just east of Houston at a rate of 2 inches (5 centimeters) an hour.

The National Hurricane Center has said heavy rain from Harvey is forecast to worsen flooding in Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

NWS meteorologist Tawnya Evans says Harris County, home to Houston, is recording about half an inch (1 centimeter) of rainfall each hour early Tuesday, and that areas east of there are seeing much more.

She says the rain could abate later in the morning but that another band of heavy rainfall will soon follow.

Harvey is expected to produce 10 to 20 additional inches (25 to 51 centimeters) or rain over the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana through Thursday.

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4:12 a.m.

The National Hurricane Center says heavy rain from Harvey is expected to worsen flooding in Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

The center says in its 4 a.m. CDT advisory that flooded roadways continue to make travel difficult and advises people to take shelter.

The center of the storm was marked 135 miles (220 kilometers) south-southwest of Port Arthur, Texas, and was moving east at 3 mph (4.8 kph) with sustained winds of up to 45 mph (72 kph).

The storm was expected to make a slow turn to the northeast on Tuesday, placing the center just off the middle and upper Texas Gulf coast through Tuesday night before moving inland. Harvey is expected to produce 10 to 20 additional inches or rain over the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana through Thursday, with isolated storm totals maybe reaching 50 inches (130 centimeters) over the Houston-Galveston area and the upper Texas coast.

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2:10 a.m.

Crews overwhelmed by thousands of rescue calls during one of the heaviest downpours in U.S. history have had little time to search for other potential victims. But officials acknowledge the grim reality that fatalities linked to Harvey could soar once the devastating floodwaters recede.

Even worse, officials now worry that the worst may be yet to come.

More than three days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane, authorities worry that the tropical storm now parked over the Gulf Coast will return and deliver a knockout blow to a Houston region already ravaged by devastating downpours generating an amount of rain normally seen only once in more than 1,000 years.

Some fear that may be more than the nation's fourth-largest city could bear.

Aug 29, 12:49 PM EDT AP

 
 

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