HOUSTON, TX — The rains keep coming, and the waters keep rising.
Swollen rivers in Houston are not expected to subside until later this week, but federal officials are already expecting Hurricane Harvey to force 30,000 people out of their homes and into shelters — and about 450,000 victims to seek some sort of disaster assistance.
And the worst is far from over.
Hurricane Harvey is the most powerful storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years, when it came ashore on Friday near Corpus Christi – about 220 miles south of Houston.
Forecasters say that more rain is coming.
Rivers are swollen to record levels as it is — and on Monday, federal engineers are being forced to release water from area reservoirs in an effort to control the rushing currents and relieve pressures on two dams.
“They are releasing water, but it’s a gradual release and what they’re indicating that if they don’t do it, let’s say they hold back the water and it builds up, and then it will be forced, it will go around attics, and the situation would be exponentially worse. So this is a this is a gradual release,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The Houston police department said officers received thousands of emergency calls, and have so far rescued 2,000 people in the past day alone.
But more need help.
“We have approximately 185 critical rescue requests that are still pending. Our goal today with our partners at the fire department and our other partners who are coming in from around the state and country is to complete the rescues of all critical missions today,” Police Chief Art Acevedo.
City officials said the 911 system was at a capacity – urging people to shelter in place if they can, and only call if they are in imminent danger.
The nation’s fourth most populous city has been slammed by 15 to 30 inches of rain during the weekend, and several more inches fell on Monday – according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters say the rains are not easing up until week’s end at the earliest — but by then, rain totals could reach another two feet.
“Wala pa akong tulog nito simula ka gabi. Kasi ang kauna unahan kong ina sikaso ay yung mga balikbayan boxes. To make sure na walang masisira o ma dadamage sa boxes nila. Pero lahat po ng office supplies at equipments namin nasira na sa tubig. Wala ng ma sasave doon,” said Joel Bamba.
Marissa Olquino said her house has been inundated by flood waters and they are running out of supplies.
“Marami po ang na uubusan na ng supplies ng tubig at pag kain ang mga tao dito sa area namin at lahat ng mga bahay ay lubog sa baha. Ang aming panawagan po sainyo ay ipag dasal ninyo po kami at ang amig kaligtasan.”
So far, Hurricane Harvey has claimed the lives of six people.
Both of Houston’s major airports are shut down, and thousands of flights have been canceled.
The Houston independent school district has also canceled school or the week, affecting more than 200,000 students.
President Donald Trump is set to travel to Texas on Tuesday to assess the Lone Star state’s dire situation.