Houston, the fourth most populous city in the United States, is facing unprecedented deluge after torrential rains lashed the city as a result of tropical storm Harvey that hit Texas coast near Corpus Christi, south-west of Houston. The cyclone storm is being termed as the wettest in the history of the United States causing rainfall in excess of 50 inches leaving a trail of death and destruction. At least 17 people are dead so far and thousands have been displaced from their homes. It’s the first category 3 (now raised to category 4) storm to hit the United States in 12 years.
US authorities both at the federal and state level are engaged in massive rescue efforts after President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Texas and Louisiana.
Meanwhile, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner has imposed a night curfew from midnight to five in the morning to stop any property crimes against evacuated homes in city limits. Anyone found in violation of curfew will be stopped, questioned, searched and arrested, Police Chief Art Acevedo informed during a press conference.
The city administration took the step after reports emerged of looting in homes abandoned by fleeing people and thieves impersonating police officers indulging in armed robbery.
Houston’s infrastructure has come under tremendous strain from heavy flooding of roads and bridges. Dams have started overflowing. The levee, an embankment built to prevent overflow, at Columbia Lakes, south of Houston was breached after which the Brazoria County officials asked the residents to get out as soon as possible.
Storm is going to wreak more havoc as is expected to subside only after Wednesday (31 August). An insurance analyst at Imperial Capital David Havens had earlier predicted that the total financial loss due to Harvey tally may touch as high as $100 billion.
According to Reuters, Harvey made landfall west of Cameron in Louisiana half an hour ago. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina had unleashed terror in the state. However, Harvey’s impact is expected to be much milder as it will start weakening soon.
According to U.S. National Hurricane Center, it is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by tomorrow night.
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