Hurricane Harvey is still a threat to Texas, even though it is no longer the Category 4 hurricane that it was when it began its rush toward the state late Friday night, packing 130 mph winds.
Three hours later, it made a second landfall and was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, and some time later, the winds dropped again to 73 mph, taking it down to a dull roar and a tropical storm.
But the storm spawned fires in some areas – three homes burned down on Bolivar Peninsula Friday night – and tornados elsewhere – as it did in Katy, west of Houston, where a Trailer World dealership was destroyed and trees were uprooted.
Some 338,000 people along the Texas coast were without electricity, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. More than 21,000 residents of Houston also were without power.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Disaster Proclamation on Saturday which “unleashed the full force of government help” at the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who declared disaster zones in 50 counties.
Intense flooding, downed power lines and upwards of 20 inches of rain hit the Corpus Christi area. The storm is considered one of the strongest to hit the state in a decade.
In the small town of Rockport, which reported “catastrophic damage,” one man died and 10 others were injured as the hurricane swept through the community. Mayor CJ Wax said the fatality wasn’t discovered until Saturday morning, when fire officials found the body in the burned-down home. The injured were hurt by collapsed roofs in the town, located 25 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.
Rockport, nearby Port Aransas, Fulton, and other small seaside towns were nearly flattened by the hurricane as it came barreling through.
On Saturday afternoon the mayor of Rosenberg ordered mandatory evacuation for parts of his city, located about 35 miles southwest of Houston. The concern was related to potential flooding from the Brazos River, which is at a record high.
Petroleum firms evacuated personnel from 86 Gulf of Mexico platforms, according to the Oil & Gas Journal. Three Carnival Cruise Line ships scheduled to return to Galveston this weekend detoured or were delayed due to the storm.
Officials also warned that with waters rising to abnormal levels, alligators would also seek shelter on higher ground, including in residential areas.
Photos from the Gator Squad alligator rescue group showed the creatures on driveways, front steps and under cars, Fox News reported. A Gator Squad spokesperson told Fox that residents should stay at least 30 feet away from any gator that they spot, and not attempt to approach or feed it.
“Contact the Parks and Wildlife department or animal control organizations like Gator Squad,” experts advised.
According to the National Weather Service,Tropical Storm Harvey will “meander over southeast Texas” for the next three to five days, producing days of heavy rain over the same area.
“Storm totals will exceed 20 inches in many areas with isolated locations approaching 40 inches. This will produce devastating flooding. Numerous Flash Flood Warnings are in effect.”