Water reaches roofline of homes in Houston neighborhood

By Associated Press
Aug. 26, 2017 at 2:16 p.m.
Updated Aug. 27, 2017 at 2:16 p.m.

Alexendre Jorge evacuates Ethan Colman, 4, from a neighborhood inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday in Houston.

Alexendre Jorge evacuates Ethan Colman, 4, from a neighborhood inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday in Houston.   AP for The Victoria Advocate

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

11:40 a.m. Water in a Houston-area neighborhood along a creek that's overflowing has reached the roofline of single-story homes.

People can be heard yelling for help from inside homes in the Cypress Forest Estates subdivision in northern Harris County also can be heard as a steady procession of rescue boats head into the area.

One man, Joe Garcia, wearing a blue jacket and a New York Mets cap, was carrying his German Shepherd, Heidi, in chest-deep water before he was picked up by a boat. Garcia said he floated out a tub of his belongings, then went back in to get his dog.

The current is swift and the waters have continued to rise Monday.

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11:15 a.m. Texas' governor is activating the entire Texas National Guard for search and rescue efforts following Hurricane Harvey, bringing the total deployment to roughly 12,000.

Gov. Gregg Abbott said Monday that it's "imperative we do everything possible" to protect lives. About 3,000 guard members had already been mobilized along the Texas coast.

Abbott says Texas is now activating others who are physically able and not currently deployed elsewhere.

Houston officials say they have rescued more than 2,000 people from flooding in the city. Harvey made landfall on Friday as a Category 4 hurricane.

10:50 a.m. Houston officials say fire personnel have responded to more than 5,500 calls for service in the city since Harvey began pounding the area this weekend.

Fire Chief Samuel Pena said during a news conference Monday that hundreds of emergency responders from across Texas and beyond are coming to Houston to help with rescue operations.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said at the same news conference that about 5,500 people have moved into city shelters. About half of them are at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Police Chief Art Acevedo added that police officers from several states will augment Houston police efforts, particularly in light of concerns with looting.

Acevedo said four people had been arrested for looting as of Monday morning.

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10:40 a.m. Former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush are expressing their support for Texas residents affected by Harvey.

The Bushes live in Houston but also have a home in Maine, which is where they're staying.

In a statement issued Monday, they say they're praying for people in Texas. They praised people who are helping their neighbors, as well as the first responders and local elected officials "for their grit and determination in the face of this extraordinary storm."

The statement concludes, "This we know: Houston, and Texas, will come together and rebuild."

Harvey made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered just off the coast, dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm. The slow-moving storm has caused catastrophic flooding in Texas.

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10:10 a.m. Houston police Chief Art Acevedo says authorities have rescued 2,000 people from flooding in the city.

Acevedo says the city has 185 critical rescue requests still pending as of Monday morning. He says the goal is to rescue those people by the end of the day.

The comments came at a news conference where officials provide updates on Harvey, which is still pouring rain on the Houston area.

Harvey came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. The slow-moving storm has caused catastrophic flooding in Texas.

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9:40 a.m. The shelter set up inside the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston has already reached half its capacity.

Ken Sandy, a shelter manager for the American Red Cross, said Monday that more than 2,600 people took shelter in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Organizers with the Red Cross estimate the convention center can accommodate roughly 5,000 people.

Sandy says the shelter is currently out of cots and waiting for more to arrive.

With Tropical Storm Harvey still pouring rain on the Houston area, thousands more people are expected to need to evacuate their homes.

The Red Cross has also set up other shelters throughout the area.

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9:20 a.m. First lady Melania Trump will join President Donald Trump on his trip to storm-battered Texas.

The first lady's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said on Twitter Monday: "@FLOTUS will travel to #Texas w @POTUS this week."

The White House has said Trump will travel to Texas on Tuesday. More details of the trip have not yet been released.

Harvey is the first major natural disaster of Trump's presidency and a significant test for a White House that is often chaotic and rife with infighting.

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9:05 a.m. A major South Texas airport has reopened after being closed due to Harvey.

A city statement said Corpus Christi International Airport resumed commercial air service Monday. Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from there.

Two other major airports in the region, George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport in Houston, remain closed as heavy rain and flooding continue. Both have been shut down since midday Sunday as Harvey-related flooding swamped roads leading to the airports

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8:55 a.m. A Houston-area official says hundreds of people who've been rescued from their homes, vehicles and other places amid catastrophic flooding are being taken to dry land but not straight to shelters.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is the top administrator for the county that's home to Houston. He said at a news conference Monday that many people are being ferried to a parking lot, school or other dry area as rescue personnel move on to the next rescue that's needed. Those people then are struggling to find shelter, food and other resources.

Emmett says the focus now is on getting those people to shelters.

Meanwhile, Houston police Chief Art Acevedo on Monday told "Good Morning America" that he knows of 200 to 250 water rescues that still must be done in the city and that he hopes they'll be completed by the end of the day.

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8:35 a.m. Vice President Mike Pence is stressing that the federal government will support Harvey recovery efforts going forward.

In an interview with Houston radio station KTRH Monday morning, Pence said the federal government will make the resources available to see Texas through rescue operations and recovery.

Pence noted that given the "magnitude of the flooding" that "it will be years coming back."

The vice president stressed that President Donald Trump has been "continuously engaged" on Harvey, noting that it is still the "beginning of the effort." He said details of Trump's visit to Texas will be "forthcoming."

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8:30 a.m. President Donald Trump has issued a federal emergency declaration for Louisiana as a storm that's flooded Houston dumps heavy bands of rain on that state.

Trump's emergency declaration on Monday initially covers five parishes in southwest Louisiana: Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vermillion.

A White House statement says the action authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in those counties related to Harvey. The declaration also authorizes the federal government to cover 75 percent of costs of certain emergency protective measures.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says lifesaving efforts including search and rescue and shelters will be needed, especially in southwest Louisiana where forecasters say 10 to 20 inches (25 to 51 centimeters) of rain could fall.

Harvey came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane. The slow-moving storm has caused catastrophic flooding in Texas.

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8 a.m. Emergency vehicles made up most of the traffic in downtown Houston on what would have normally been a busy start of the work week.

Due to Harvey, the usually bustling business area was mostly deserted Monday morning.

The water had receded from parts of downtown Houston, near Buffalo Bayou, which flooded over the weekend from the lingering tropical storm. That situation could change as officials have started releasing even more water from reservoirs overwhelmed by Harvey.

About half of downtown Houston had no working traffic signals. Most businesses, including restaurants, were closed due to the storm.

Harvey came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane. The slow-moving storm has caused catastrophic flooding in Texas.

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4:25 a.m.

The National Hurricane Center says in its 4 a.m. CDT update that the tropical storm that made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, dropping heavy rain in the Houston area, still has sustained winds of up to 40 mph (65 kph) and is centered 20 miles (30 kilometers) east of Victoria, Texas, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) southwest of Houston. It continues to creep to the southeast at 3 mph (4.8 kph).

That means it remains virtually stalled near the coast and continues to drop heavy rain on the Houston and Galveston areas. In the past 48 hours, numerous spots in the region have measured more than 25 inches (64 centimeters) of rain.

The hurricane center says Harvey's center was expected to drift off the middle Texas coast on Monday and meander offshore through Tuesday before beginning "a slow northeastward motion." The center says those in the upper Texas coast and in southwestern Louisiana should continue to monitor Harvey's progress.

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3:38 a.m.

Houston officials continue to urge people to shelter in place and stay off flooded roadways as Harvey continues to batter the nation's fourth-largest city.

Public Information Officer Keith Smith also says Sunday that rescue efforts continue and now are focused on those who feel trapped inside a home or building.

Smith says the city's 911 emergency response system has been challenged by sharply increased call volumes since the tropical storm made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane. He says during a typical 24-hour period, the emergency response system receives about 8,000 calls. But during a 17-hour period following Harvey's landfall, more than 56,000 911 calls were received.

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2:11 a.m.

As the nation's fourth-largest city braced for more rain and rescues, officials started releasing even more water from reservoirs overwhelmed by Harvey even though the move aimed at protecting downtown Houston could make already devastating flooding worse around thousands of homes.

The strategic engineering move began early Monday. Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm, sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with the constant calls for help.

Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District, says residents affected by the release should pack what's needed and leave when the sun comes up.

12:19 a.m. Officials in Fort Bend County, in Houston's southwestern suburbs, have issued widespread mandatory evacuation orders along the Brazos River levee districts.

County officials were preparing for the river to reach major flood stages late Sunday. County Judge Robert Herbert, the county's top elected official, said at a news conference that the National Weather Service predicted that Brazos waters could rise to 59 feet, three feet above 2016 records and what Herbert called an "800-year flood level."

Herbert says that amount of water would top the levees and carries a threat of levee failure.

Areas along the Brazos stretching as far north as parts of Sugar Land had been under voluntary evacuation orders over the weekend, but many of those neighborhoods have now changed to mandatory evacuations.

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11:20 p.m. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says another 1,000 National Guard members will be sent to Houston on Monday as flooding from Harvey continues to ravage the area.

The governor announced the move late Sunday on his personal Twitter account.

Earlier Sunday, Abbott said the state activated 3,000 National Guard and State Guard members as a result of the storm damage. He also said 500 vehicles and 14 aircraft had been put into service.

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11:16 p.m. A meteorologist for a Houston-area flood-control district is warning that thousands of residents could be affected by the release of water from a pair of flood-control reservoirs.

The Harris County Flood Control District updated earlier notifications from the Army Corps of Engineers about controlled releases of two Harris County-area reservoirs to warn neighboring residents that their homes could be flooded.

District meteorologist Jeff Lindner says residents of neighborhoods surrounding the Addicks Reservoir and Barker Reservoir could be affected initially with street flooding, but residents' homes could be flooded as well.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had said earlier Sunday that they would begin releasing water from the reservoirs early Monday to control the flooding along Buffalo Bayou downstream to downtown Houston and the Houston Ship Channel.

The Harris County Office of Emergency Management said residents around the reservoirs should pack their cars with what they want to bring but not to until daybreak to leave as the rain continues to fall.

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10:45 p.m. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is responding to an overwhelming number of corporate and citizen inquiries by establishing the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to accept tax-deductible flood relief donations.

The fund is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

Turner says he's getting phone calls from across the country and "the generosity of people who understand this disaster is truly amazing."

The foundation will accept donations by a variety of channels:

Checks and money orders can be mailed to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, while online credit card donations can be made at www.ghcf.org. Online credit card donations will be assessed a small fee by the credit card companies. Donors have the option of increasing their credit card donations to cover this fee.

Wire-transferred cash will also be accepted.

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10 p.m. Tropical Storm Harvey continues to head back toward the Gulf of Mexico at a slow pace.

In its 10 p.m. CDT advisory, the National Hurricane Center reports the storm still has sustained winds of up to 40 mph and is centered 20 miles east of Victoria, Texas, about 120 miles southwest of Houston. It continues to creep to the east-southeast at 3 mph.

That means it remains virtually stalled near the coast and continues to drop heavy rain on the Houston and Galveston areas. In the past 48 hours, numerous spots in the region have measured more than 25 inches of rainfall.

The hurricane center says Harvey's center was expected to drift off the middle Texas coast on Monday and meander offshore through Tuesday before beginning "a slow northeastward motion."

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8:30 p.m. When Hurricane Harvey came ashore pounded Rockport, the Aransas County Sheriff's Office wasn't immune from the devastation.

Sheriff Bill Mills says no fewer than 35 of the vehicles in his emergency vehicle fleet are out of action because of broken windows and windshields. Furthermore, the smashed windows allowed the heavy rain to short out the electronics in the vehicles, setting off their sirens and lights in the middle of the storm. He says some cars had six inches of water in them.

Emergency and disaster relief crews from Texas and as far away as New York and North Carolina have arrived to help put broken Aransas County back together. But Mills cautions residents who evacuated the area not to try to return. There's no running water, power or phone service yet. And natural gas is cut off.

Mills says search and rescue teams have covered 85 percent of the county and so far only encountered a single fatality. That was a person whose body was so badly burned in a mobile home fire in Rockport, the county seat, during the storm that medical examiners have been unable to determine the sex.

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8:05 p.m. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he has no regrets about not calling for an evacuation of Houston residents ahead of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Turner reiterated at a Sunday night news conference that the best course of action was for residents in Houston and surrounding areas to stay in place.

Factors in his decision included not knowing where Harvey, when it was still a hurricane, was headed and the "crazy" logistics of trying to plan an evacuation of 2.3 million people within a couple of days.

Turner also cited the experience the city had when residents evacuated ahead of Hurricane Rita in 2005 and gridlocked local roadways, leaving many people in traffic for more than 20 hours as they fled the city and resulting in dozens of deaths. Rita had been predicted to hit Houston but ended up making landfall well east of the city.

"The decision that we made was a smart one. It was in the best interest of Houstonians," he said. "It was the right decision in terms of their safety and always we must put the interests of the city and Houstonians first. That's exactly what we did. We did what was the right thing to do."

Turner said he has no concerns that the shelter that has been set up at the George R. Brown Convention Center will turn into New Orleans' Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. At the football stadium, 30,000 evacuees spent days packed inside the sweltering dome with limited power and water and a roof that was shredded in the howling wind.

"I think in this city we know how to do it in such a way that is not chaotic. It's respectful, it's dignified," Turner said.

Turner said he wants to transition people staying at the shelter to more suitable housing as quickly as possible.

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7:35 p.m. The National Hurricane Center is offering no promises of relief from the epic rains unleashed on Southeast Texas by Tropical Storm Harvey.

In its 7 p.m. CDT advisory, center forecasters located the center of the storm 10 miles northeast of Victoria, Texas, or about 120 miles southwest of Houston. That center was inching to the southeast at 3 mph with sustained winds of up to 40 mph.

The forecasters said "little change in strength is forecast during the next 24 hours." In fact, "some slight re-strengthening is possible after the center moves off the coast on Monday night and Tuesday."

The storm is expected to rain an additional 15 to 25 inches through Friday over the upper Texas Gulf coast and into southwestern Louisiana. Isolated storm totals may reach 50 inches over that area, including the Houston-Galveston area.

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7:15 p.m. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that as of 5 p.m. on Sunday, Houston police and fire departments had received nearly 6,000 calls for rescues and had rescued more than 1,000 people. Many of these rescues were of people trapped on their roofs or in their attics.

Turner said that so far only one fatality has been confirmed — a woman who died Saturday evening after getting out of her car when it drove into a flooded street.

Turner said 22 aircrafts were working to help identify people stranded on roofs. Sixteen of those aircrafts are from U.S. Coast Guard.

In addition, 35 boats and 93 dump trucks were being used by the city for high water rescues.

The mayor also defended his decision not to order an evacuation.

"The decision that we made was a smart one. It was in the best interest of Houstonians. It was the right decision in terms of their safety... absolutely no regrets. We did what was the right thing to do," Turner said.

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6:15 p.m. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin releasing water into Buffalo Bayou from two flood-control dams on the western outskirts of the city.

Col. Lars Zetterstrom is commander of the Galveston District of the Corps of Engineers. He says water will be released from the Barker Reservoir and Addicks Reservoir very slowly on Monday morning to prevent uncontrollable flooding of downtown Houston and the Houston Ship Channel.

Downtown Houston is 17 miles (27.36 kilometers) downstream from the dams, which were built during the 1940s in response to a 1935 flood that inundated much of downtown area.

Zetterstrom says the water contained by the dams is "unparalleled in the dams' history." The waters are rising about 4 inches per hour.

Zetterstrom says the dams will impound water for one to three months as water is gradually released. He adds that some neighborhoods on the fringes of the reservoir are likely to see some floods.

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5:45 p.m.

The heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey will be staying to the north and east of Victoria throughout Sunday and Monday, said Tim Tinsley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi.

What was once Tropical Storm Harvey's center of circulation is about 25 miles northwest of Victoria.

Throughout Sunday, residents may still occasionally feel tropical storm force gusts. Harvey, however, could downgrade into a depression before re-entering the Gulf on Monday.

At that time, Tinsley said, Harvey could restrengthen into a tropical storm before making a third landfall between Sargent and San Luis Pass, where a tropical storm warning is in effect.

"That's very unusual," Tinsley said about what Harvey's potential to make landfall a third time on the Texas coast.

The amount of rain Victoria received is hard to track, Tinsley said, because the observation unit at the Victoria Regional Airport went offline during the storm. One reading east-northeast of Victoria recorded 6.28 inches of rain as of Saturday morning, while the Harvey was still battering the area. Those inch-counts are expected to grow once final assessments are done.

Also, the Guadalupe River is expected to rise to 32 feet by Thursday morning. The river will not reach the levels of the 1998 flood, Tinsley said.

4:55 p.m. The National Hurricane Center is urging residents in southeast Texas to stay put as Harvey inches south on a track that forecasters say will bring it back into the Gulf of Mexico for some slight strengthening before returning into Texas again.

Harvey continues to be a tropical storm with 40 mph winds. In its late afternoon update Sunday, the center forecasts Harvey will reach the coast late Monday and spend much of Tuesday over water, where it could increase wind strength to 45 mph.

Forecasters think Harvey will come inland Wednesday with a path over Houston by the afternoon and then diminish in strength as it heads deeper into Texas and northern Louisiana.

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4:30 p.m. The evacuation of Houston's main public hospital hasn't begun yet because it is surrounded by waist-deep water as a result of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Bryan McLeod is a spokesman for Harris Health System. He said Sunday that minor flooding in the basement of Ben Taub Hospital and a busted sewer pipe forced officials to close the kitchen. McLeod says the flooding resulted in only a small amount of water in the basement and did not affect the hospital's power supply. But shutting down the kitchen leaves the hospital with a limited supply of dry food for patients.

McLeod says the evacuations won't start until the water recedes from around the facility and will likely take several days. The hospital is part of the Texas Medical Center, and has 350 patients.

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3:50 p.m. Nearly a quarter of Texas' population lives in areas covered by a federal disaster declaration as a result of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Gov. Greg Abbott says 18 counties are now covered by the disaster declaration approved by President Donald Trump. There are nearly 7 million people in those counties, including the nation's fourth-largest city of Houston. Texas has a population of 27.8 million.

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3:45 p.m. Police say a sinkhole has opened on a Texas highway about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Houston as Tropical Storm Harvey dumps more rain on the region.

Rosenberg police on Sunday tweeted a photo of the gaping hole that spread across more than half of a two-lane highway — Farm-to-Market 762.

Water could be seen filling the sinkhole as pieces of highway asphalt hung from the edge of the damaged roadway.

Rosenberg police did not immediately provide additional details on the sinkhole, other than urging drivers to avoid the area. Police cars blocked off the highway.

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3 p.m. An official says all 22 of Harris County's watersheds have spilled over their banks due to Tropical Storm Harvey. Watersheds are creeks and bayous that take water away from the Houston area and eventually drain it into Galveston Bay.

Harris County Flood Control District Meteorologist Jeff Lindner says over half of the watersheds are experiencing record flooding.

Lindner said even with the rain starting to decrease a little bit, the sheer volume of water that has fallen is going to take time to run off.

He says it may take until Sunday night or well into Monday or even Tuesday "to get the water out of these areas that have been impacted so hard."

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2:30 p.m. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says that the number of counties declared federal disaster areas from Tropical Storm Harvey and its aftermath has increased to 18.

Abbott said Sunday 12 counties have been added to an earlier federal disaster list of six. He said President Donald Trump has approved the increase in counties.

Also, 50 counties have already been declared state disaster zones, 30 earlier in the week and 20 on Saturday. Abbott says the counties under the federal and state declarations include Harris County, which encompasses Houston and has been experiencing severe flooding from torrential rains.

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2:20 p.m. Several hundred people have arrived at the downtown convention center the city of Houston has converted into a shelter after floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey inundated much of the city.

Ken Sandy has been designated shelter manager by the Red Cross. He said Sunday that his volunteers are prepared for 1,000 people at the George R. Brown Convention Center, and the center is big enough for them to expand if necessary. The center has 1.8 million square feet of space.

Volunteers are handing out towels to people entering the cavernous center. Cots have not yet arrived.

Authorities across Houston and surrounding Harris County are quickly opening shelters as the full toll of the flooding becomes clear and thousands of people evacuate their homes.

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2:15 p.m. A Harris County official is asking members of the public who have a boat or a high water vehicle to help with efforts to rescue Houston residents whose homes have flooded in the torrential rains brought by Tropical Storm Harvey.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said at a news conference Sunday that the additional boats and vehicles that Texas is sending to the Houston area are not able to get to the area due to flooded roadways. He adds that vehicles the state previously sent are already being used to help rescue individuals.

Emmett, who oversees government operations in Harris County, where Houston is located, says, "We desperately need boats and high water vehicles ... We can't wait for assets to come from outside."

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2 p.m. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state has now activated 3,000 National Guard and State Guard members as a result of severe damage and flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Along with the guard, he says 500 vehicles and 14 aircraft have been put into service.

Abbott said there are no 250 highway closures around Texas.

He spoke at a news conference at the state emergency response center in Austin.

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1:35 p.m. President Donald Trump met by teleconference Sunday with top administration officials as rescue workers continue to respond to rising flood waters from Hurricane Harvey.

The White House says Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, members of Trump's Cabinet and other senior officials discussed federal support for response and recovery efforts.

The White House says Trump stressed his expectation that "all departments and agencies stay fully committed to supporting the governors of Texas and Louisiana" and that his "number one priority of saving lives."

Rising floodwaters from Harvey have forced thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground in Houston, overwhelming rescuers.

Trump announced Sunday he's planning a trip to Texas soon.

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1:20 p.m. Both major airports in Houston have been closed amid severe flooding blamed on Tropical Storm Harvey.

A Houston Airport System statement at midday Sunday said George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport are closed to commercial flights until further notice.

Officials say roads in and out of both airports are shut down due to flooding.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall late Friday night along the Texas coast about 230 miles southwest of Houston, but it wasn't until late Saturday night that what became Tropical Storm Harvey began bringing torrential rains causing flooding to the Houston area.

The airport system's website says Bush Intercontinental Airport is 23 miles north of downtown Houston and provides service via 29 passenger airlines.

Hobby Airport is 7 miles south of downtown Houston and is served by four passenger airlines.

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12:40 p.m. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says that Ben Taub Hospital, the county's public hospital, is being evacuated because flooding problems in the basement are disrupting power service.

Emmett overseas government operations in Harris County where Houston is located. He tells a news conference that evacuated patients are being taken to other area hospitals. It was not immediately known how many patients were being moved.

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12:30 p.m. Coast Guard Capt. Kevin Oditt says helicopters have rescued more than 100 people in the Houston area as Tropical Storm Harvey floods numerous neighborhoods.

In a conference call Sunday with reporters, Oditt says Coast Guard personnel and aircraft from around the country have been dispatched to Texas. He says Texas Air National Guard choppers were also assisting with rescues.

Oditt says people facing rising floodwaters should not go into attics, since rescuers in the air cannot see them. The incident commander urged people who head to their rooftops to wave sheets, towels or anything else to attract the attention of helicopter crews.

Coast Guard helicopter crews along the southern portion of the Texas coast are reporting the rescue of almost 40 people, starting from the morning before Hurricane Harvey made landfall. That includes six people rescued from their home Saturday evening in the hard-hit city of Aransas Pass. Among them were three children, their two parents and an elderly woman who was in need of oxygen.

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12:05 p.m. The National Weather Service now says some parts of Houston and just west of the city may receive a Texas record of 50 inches of rain as Tropical Storm Harvey stalls over Texas.

NWS meteorologist Patrick Burke says rainfall totals will end up around 40 inches or more for Houston on average, but some isolated spots will hit or exceed 50 inches.

Burkes says, "We're in kind of unprecedented territory with this storm."

Local rainfall amounts of 50 inches would exceed any previous Texas rainfall record. The NWS says in a statement that "the breadth and intensity of this rainfall is beyond anything experienced before and is resulting in catastrophic flooding."

So far rainfall totals since Thursday evening have reached about 25 inches in south Houston. In Dayton, located 38 miles northeast of Houston, rainfall has already reached 27 inches.

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10:30 a.m. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena says that since midnight his agency has responded to more than 2,500 emergency calls and another 1,000 calls are waiting to be serviced.

Pena says his agency has made more than 250 water rescues, all of them people in vehicles, during a three hour period overnight.

But Houston Assistant Police Chief Larry Satterwhite says there has been an increase in calls from residents with flooded homes in the city's northeast, southeast and southwest sections.

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10:15 a.m. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is defending his decision not to ask residents to evacuate before the heavy rain from Tropical Storm Harvey swamped roads and neighborhoods across the nation's fourth-largest city.

Turner says at a news conference Sunday that there was no way to pinpoint which neighborhoods would be worst hit. He says every neighborhood has received at least some flooding.

He says, "If you think the situation right now is bad and you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare."

Turner asked people to stay in their homes and not drive if at all possible. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena says authorities have made more than 250 vehicle rescues in the storm.

10:05 a.m. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says emergency personnel have responded to more than 2,000 calls to 911 for rescues in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He said priority was being given to life-threatening calls.

Turner also said at a news conference Sunday that he has ordered the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center opened as a shelter as floodwaters inundated much of the city.

Turner also urged people not to drive, as numerous streets and roadways in Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, were flooded Sunday.

The George R. Brown Convention Center has 1.8 million square feet of space.

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11:40 p.m.

One person has died in flooding in Houston as Tropical Storm Harvey dumps rain on Southeast Texas.

Gary Norman, a spokesman for the Houston emergency operations center, said late Saturday that the person was a woman appeared to have gotten out of her vehicle in high water, though authorities had not confirmed a cause of death. She was found by neighbors about 30 yards (27 meters) away from her vehicle. Norman says she was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor who was in the area.

It's the second confirmed death from Harvey. The other was in a coastal community in Aransas County. That person died in a fire at a home during the storm.

Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, but it has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakens while moving inland.

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11:25 p.m.

One person has died in flooding in Houston as Tropical Storm Harvey dumps rain on Southeast Texas.

Jason Wiersema of the Harris County medical examiner's office said late Saturday that his office had been notified that one person had died, but could not confirm the person's identity or cause of death.

It's the second confirmed death from Harvey.

Wiersema's comments came after Houston's mayor had said authorities are investigating the possibility that a motorist may have died in flooding. It wasn't clear whether that was the same person.

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10:45 p.m.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says authorities are investigating the possibility that a motorist may have died in flooding as Tropical Storm Harvey dumps rain on Southeast Texas.

Turner said at a news conference Saturday night that he had just gotten word that a woman apparently became trapped in a car and it wasn't yet clear whether she survived. He did not provide any additional details.

He and other officials were urging people not to leave their homes. Turner says "the streets are treacherous."

The National Hurricane Center says Harvey is weakening, but the tropical storm is barely moving as it dumps torrential rains.

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10:15 p.m.

Houston's interstate highways and major streets are starting to flood as Tropical Storm Harvey stalls over Southeast Texas.

Many of Houston's roads had spots of flooding Saturday night that were nearly impassable. The city's transportation authority counted more than 50 high water spots just a few hours into the storm passing through the area.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nikki Hathaway says between up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell within three hours. In some sections of south and southwest Harris County, where Houston is located, more than 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain had fallen in an hour.

Officials are urging people to stay off of the roads. The National Weather Service has received multiple reports of water rescues in Harris County and nearby areas. The Harris County sheriff's office said on Twitter that it rescued one driver from 3 feet (0.91 meters) of rushing water.

Hathaway says the weather service has issued a Flash Flood Emergency for the Harris County area until after 12:15 a.m.

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10 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Harvey is weakening, but the tropical storm is barely moving as it dumps torrential rains on parts of Texas.

The center says the storm is drifting over southeastern Texas, with torrential rains expected to continue.

The center said Saturday night that the storm now has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph). It's moving at just 1 mph (1.6 kph), so it's hanging around and dumping rain along the coast, including in Houston.

The center says Harvey is likely to weaken from a tropical storm to a tropical depression on Sunday. Harvey came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday night.

Forecasters expect Harvey to produce additional rain accumulations of 15 to 25 inches (38 to 64 centimeters) over the middle and upper Texas coast through Thursday. Isolated storm totals may reach around 40 inches (100 centimeters).

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7:25 p.m.

Marilyn Shaughnessy didn't expect the worst of Tropical Storm Harvey to hit the Houston area until Sunday. But she opened a window Saturday afternoon to see a tornado bearing down on her house.

The tornado wound through the Houston suburb of Cypress, damaging several homes and buildings but causing no apparent injuries.

Shaughnessy, a retired police officer, says she had her family run to their laundry room and wait out the tornado. Their house shook and framed pictures fell off the walls.

It passed a few minutes later. Shaughnessy came outside to find small holes in her roof and wooden planks from her fence missing. Nearby, contractors tore the remains of a chimney off one home and sized up the broken windows of another.

Shaughnessy says she plans to stay in her home through the next several days, when heavy rain and strong winds are in the forecast.

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7 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says torrential rain will continue as Tropical Storm Harvey drifts east-northeastward with very little additional motion expected over the next few days.

The center said in its Saturday evening update that maximum sustained winds have now decreased to 60 mph (96 kph) and additional weakening of winds is expected during the next day or two.

The tropical storm's center was about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Victoria, Texas. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) from the storm's center.

Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. A judge has confirmed one death and about a dozen injuries from the storm.

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6:50 p.m.

Authorities say sheriff's deputies in the Houston area saw a tornado touchdown about four times near Cypress as Tropical Storm Harvey pounds Texas.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office posted a video to Facebook on Saturday of Sheriff Ed Gonzalez speaking to residents and news media about the tornado. Gonzalez says a car with a driver inside was flipped over by the tornado, but is OK. Gonzalez says he and deputies were seeing extensive damage to roofs, but had not heard of any injuries.

National Weather Service meteorologist Wendy Wong says that numerous tornadoes spawned by Harvey caused damage in Houston and the surrounding area — from around Matagorda on the coast to the Cypress area in the north. She said homes, vehicles and buildings were damaged.

More than a dozen Texas counties were under a tornado watch Saturday night.

Harvey came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday night but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

One person has died in flooding in Houston as Tropical Storm Harvey dumps rain on Southeast Texas.

Gary Norman, a spokesman for the Houston emergency operations center, said late Saturday that the person was a woman appeared to have gotten out of her vehicle in high water, though authorities had not confirmed a cause of death. She was found by neighbors about 30 yards (27 meters) away from her vehicle. Norman says she was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor who was in the area.

It's the second confirmed death from Harvey. The other was in a coastal community in Aransas County. That person died in a fire at a home during the storm.

Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, but it has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakens while moving inland.

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2:12 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has met with his Cabinet and other senior administration officials to discuss the federal response to the flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

It issued a statement Saturday saying that Trump held a video conference from Camp David in which he instructed the relevant departments and agencies to "stay fully engaged and positioned to support his number one priority of saving lives."

It says Trump also reminded his department heads that the full impact of the storm won't be apparent for days, as residents of Texas and Louisiana recover from the heavy flooding and wind damage.

Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakens while moving inland. Forecasters warn of the possibility of catastrophic flooding, including in Houston, the nation's fourth largest city.

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1:45 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says there have been no confirmed deaths linked to Tropical Storm Harvey.

Abbott said at a news conference Saturday in Austin that he's working with local officials and seeking information about the storm, but that there's nothing yet confirming that it killed anyone.

Abbott says it's too early to speculate as to how much property damage the storm has caused, but he has expanded his disaster declaration to cover more counties.

Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, but it has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakens while moving inland.

Forecasters warn that the storm could cause catastrophic flooding as it lingers in the area for several days.

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1 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Harvey from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm.

But officials say they are still worried about potentially catastrophic rainfall that will continue for days, with more than 40 inches and flash flooding possible even well inland.

Harvey came ashore Friday along the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds, the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade.

Experts say hurricanes almost always lose strength quickly after making landfall and moving away from the warm waters that fuel their winds. But the danger doesn't end there.

Harvey is expected to keep slowing and dumping rain through the middle of next week.

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12:45 p.m.

Hurricane Harvey has been dumping nearly 3 inches (76.2 millimeters) of rain per hour at times and has left some streets in flood-prone Houston submerged in water.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, the chief administrator of the county that includes Houston, says flooding so far is a "minor issue." He says most of the watersheds are well within their banks "but we're not out of this."

Forecasters are predicting major flooding in the area by Tuesday. Houston has about 1,700 miles (2735.76 kilometers) of channels that drain to the Gulf of Mexico.

A handful of freeway service roads and streets and some scattered neighborhoods that normally experience high water in heavy rain have been flooded.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner cautions that although major flooding hasn't happened yet, "that can change."

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11:30 a.m.

Families who escaped Rockport before Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coastal city are worried about neighbors and whether their homes are still standing.

Johanna Cochran says she's panicking over whether her house or the McDonald's where she works survived the storm, which dealt Rockport a direct blow. She and her boyfriend evacuated to a San Antonio shelter along with dozens of other coastal residents.

Another Rockport resident, Pamela Montes, says she's also worried about her friends and her home. She says she knows many people who stayed behind because "no one felt like it was going to hit."

Harvey made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a Category 1, which is the least powerful classification. Forecasters warn that it could cause catastrophic flooding over the coming days.

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11 a.m.

Texas officials say they are evacuating about 4,500 inmates from three state prisons in Brazoria County south of Houston because the nearby Brazos River is rising from Hurricane Harvey's heavy rain.

The Department of Criminal Justice says inmates from the Ramsey, Terrell, and Stringfellow Units in Rosharon are being taken by bus to other prisons in east Texas.

Additional food and water has been delivered to the prisons receiving the displaced inmates.

Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. It has since weakened to a Category 1 storm.

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10:35 a.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Harvey's maximum sustained winds have decreased to about 75 mph (120 kph) and that the storm is now centered about 25 miles west of Victoria, Texas.

The center says in its 10 a.m. update that the storm is expected to weaken over the next 48 hours and to become a tropical storm by Saturday afternoon. The storm is moving north at 2 mph (3 kph).

The hurricane center says that although the winds are weakening, the storm could cause catastrophic flooding over the coming days.

Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade.

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10:15 a.m.

The Coast Guard has sent two helicopters to try to rescue the crews of three tugboats in distress near the Lydia Ann Channel near Port Aransas, Texas.

The Coast Guard at Corpus Christi says it received a mayday notification Saturday from crew members aboard the Belle Chase, Sandy Point and Sabine Pass.

Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews have been sent to rescue the crews.

Texas is being pounded by Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday night but has since been downgraded to a Category 1 as it moves inland. Forecasters warn that it could cause catastrophic flooding in the coming days.

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9:40 a.m.

Hurricane Harvey has knocked out power to nearly 300,000 customers along the Texas coast and has dumped nearly 20 inches (half a meter) of rain in some places.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages about 90 percent of the state's electric grid, says there were 211,000 outages in the few hours after Harvey made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane.

That figure rose to 293,000 on Saturday, when the hurricane was downgraded to Category 1.

In addition to loss of power, emergency personnel in the communities northeast of Corpus Christi where Harvey made landfall are reporting loss of cellphone service and other forms of communication.

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9 a.m.

The rain was so torrential along Interstate 45 coming out of Galveston as Hurricane Harvey settled over southeast Texas that motorists had to stop under bridges to avoid driving in whiteout conditions.

The downpour on Saturday has also caused minor street flooding along a highway in Dickinson, about 25 miles northwest of Galveston.

Harvey, the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, made landfall Friday night about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph (209 kph) winds.

It gradually weakened over the next several hours and the National Hurricane Center said that by 5 a.m. Saturday Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1.

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8:30 a.m.

A Texas mayor says Hurricane Harvey hit his coastal community "right on the nose" and left "widespread devastation."

Rockport Mayor Charles "C.J." Wax told The Weather Channel on Saturday that some homes and businesses were heavily damaged or even completely destroyed. Schools were also damaged.

He says emergency response system for the city of about 10,000 people has been hampered by the loss of cellphone service and other forms of communication.

Harvey made landfall Friday evening as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a Category 1. The National Hurricane Center says the threat in coming days is sustained rains that could unleash "catastrophic" flooding.

The city of Victoria, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Rockport, had received more than 16 inches of rain by Saturday morning.

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8:15 a.m.

Daybreak has revealed some of the damage caused when Hurricane Harvey came ashore overnight, including downed lamp posts and tree limbs in Corpus Christi and roof tiles torn off buildings.

Harvey came ashore along Texas' Gulf Coast on Friday night as the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. It has since been downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 1 hurricane, but the storm is expected to hover in the region for days and to dump as much as 40 inches (1 meter) of rain in places.

Corpus Christi's marina has been left nearly unscathed, save an awning ripped from a restaurant entrance and a wooden garbage bin uprooted and thrown.

An old white sport fishing boat was partially submerged and several boats' sails came unfurled and were ripped and whipping in wind gusts of more than 50 mph.

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7:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump has commended the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his handling of the hurricane now hitting the Texas Gulf Coast.

In a tweet Saturday morning addressed to FEMA head Brock Long, Trump said: "You are doing a great job - the world is watching! Be safe."

Hurricane Harvey, the fiercest to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, is posing the first major emergency management test of Trump's administration.

In a separate tweet, Trump said he is monitoring the hurricane closely from Camp David and "We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Govs. working great together!"

He also tweeted that "We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before #Harvey. So far, so good!"

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5:45 a.m.

Harvey has been further downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as it churns slowly inland from the Texas Gulf Coast, already depositing more than 9 inches of rain in South Texas.

Harvey made landfall about 10 p.m. Friday east-northeast of Corpus Christi as a Category 4, with winds in excess of 130 mph (210 kph).

But wind speeds quickly weakened and by early Saturday Harvey was downgraded. It continues to produce gusts of up to 120 mph (193 kph) and sustained winds of 90 mph (144 kph). The National Hurricane Center warns of "catastrophic flooding" over the next few days.

Emergency personnel in coastal communities like Rockport, just northeast of Corpus Christi, say there's broad damage to buildings. But Rockport Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Sims said early Saturday that firefighters were hunkered down at the city's fire station waiting for conditions to improve to assess the damage.

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4:22 a.m.

Hurricane Harvey has settled over southeast Texas, dumping rain and lashing the state's Gulf Coast with damaging winds.

The storm made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 with 130 mph (209 kph) winds. It gradually weakened over the next several hours and by early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said it back to a Category 2 - still sustaining winds of 110 mph (185 kph) as of 3 a.m.

Early damage reports from Gulf Coast cities included collapsed roofs and walls. One community transported multiple people from a senior living home to the county jail for treatment after a roof caved in.

But officials remained largely unable to assess the damage before daylight.

The storm is expected to slow further and flood the area with rain through the middle of next week. The center warned that Harvey could produce life-threatening storm surges along a coastal area of more than 400 miles (643 kilometers).


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