CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — The National Hurricane Center says that what is now Tropical Storm Harvey is barely moving as torrential rains continue in Texas.
The center’s late Saturday afternoon update says the center of the storm is about 45 miles west-northwest of Victoria, Texas, and little motion is expected during the next few days. The center says maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph. Additional weakening is expected over the next day or two. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the storm’s center.
The hurricane center says catastrophic and life-threatening flooding is expected across middle and upper Texas through Thursday, with isolated storm totals as high as 40 inches.
Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade.
A Texas judge says there is one confirmed death from Harvey in Aransas County.
The Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday that Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills Jr. also says 12 to 14 people were injured by Harvey, which came ashore Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.
Harvey delivered a direct blow to Rockport, a city of about 10,000 people.
City leaders said at a news conference that their coastal community has been turned into a debris field and that the storm damaged a school, the library and other public buildings.
The mayor of the island city of Port Aransas, Texas, says officials haven’t been able to determine yet how much destruction was caused there by Hurricane Harvey because of the “massive” amount of damage they’ve so far encountered.
Mayor Charles Bujan said Saturday afternoon that no injuries or fatalities have been found in Port Aransas so far. He said that with the help of heavy equipment, authorities have only made it into the northernmost street in the city.
Bujan had called for a mandatory evacuation of Port Aransas. But he says some people had stayed. He didn’t know how many. The town has a population of about 3,800.
A Coast Guard official says helicopters rescued 18 people from boats and barges that were in distress because of Harvey.
Capt. Tony Hahn, commander of the Corpus Christi sector, said Saturday that the two helicopters managed to rescue the people when it became safe enough to do so. He says they retrieved three people from a fishing boat, four from a barge and 11 from two tugboats.
He says several boats sank in the Port of Corpus Christi and there will be a lot of work to do before it can reopen.
Hahn also says that since Corpus Christi is the third largest petrochemical port in the nation, there is the potential for chemical and crude oil spills, so they’ll be watching for that.
He says the Port of Brownsville reopened Saturday morning and they haven’t yet been able to assess the Port of Victoria.
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.
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.
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