Wide swaths of southeast Texas have been devastated by Tropical Storm Harvey, with some areas drowning in nearly 40 inches of water — and Lone Star State residents are bracing for another beating with up to 20 inches of rain.
“This is, if not the largest, it has to be categorized as one of the largest disasters America has ever faced,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Forecasters say Harvey, which made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday night, will move slowly to the northeast throughout the week and shower some parts of the state with another 15 to 20 inches of rainfall by the end of Thursday.
Certain areas to the west of Houston could see as much as 50 inches of rain by the time the storm is over — which would be the largest recorded total in Texas history.
By Monday, more than 2,000 victims in Houston had been plucked from the catastrophic flooding, which left roads, homes and cars across Texas submerged in water.
Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard — about 12,000 members — to aid in rescue efforts.Citizen rescuers also jumped in to help fellow residents, using private motor boats and even kayaks to ferry stranded people to safety as thousands poured into shelters around the state.
With waters continuing to rise, some people panicked as they waited for rescue.“They’re making it difficult for us to rescue them,” said Clyde Cain, a member of the Louisiana-based Cajun Navy rescue force. “You have people rushing the boat. Everyone wants to get in at the same time. They’re panicking. Water is rising.”