Tropical storm Harvey hit Louisiana on Wednesday after its devastating passage down the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico, while Houston was still paralyzed by record rainfall that forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.
Harvey, who touched down near Corpus Christi on Friday as the most powerful hurricane that has hit Texas in more than 50 years, has killed at least 22 people and forced 32,000 people to flee to shelters.
Moody’s Analytics estimates Harvey’s economic impact for Southeast Texas at between $ 51 billion and $ 75 billion, making it one of the most expensive storms in history in the United States.
Forecasters say Harvey could generate another 7.5 centimeters of rain on Wednesday after raising the water level by 1.2 meters in the western Gulf Coast area of Louisiana. The floods forced the closure of the country’s largest oil refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, a new blow to the country’s energy infrastructure.
Flooding flooded part of the Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, where many villagers had sought shelter, according to images posted on social networks. In Beaumont, northeast of Houston, a woman and her baby were washed away. The girl was rescued but her mother died.
Harvey touched down for the third time on Wednesday and at 1600 GMT was 48.28 kilometers north of Lake Charles, Louisiana, with winds of up to 75 kilometers per hour.
The sky cleared over Houston, the energy center and the country’s fourth largest city, brought relief after five days of heavy rain. Some residents began to leave the shelters to return home, worried about what they were to find.
“A lot of people are coming back because everything looks dry around here. But there are people who lost everything, who have nowhere to go and are still in the shelter, “said Mike Dickerson, 52.
THOUSANDS OF DAMAGED HOMES
Texas officials said that by Wednesday morning, some 49,000 homes had been damaged by floods, with more than 1,000 homes destroyed. Some 195,000 people began the process of seeking federal aid, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Texas investigates allegations of speculation for loaves of bread offered at $ 15 and fuel for $ 100 a gallon, the state attorney general said.
President Donald Trump visited Corpus Christi and Austin on Tuesday to see the ravages of the first major natural disaster he faces in his tenure. “My heart is with the great people of Texas,” the president wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
The largest refinery in the United States closed on Wednesday as Harvey’s heavy rains flooded the 603,000-barrel (bpd) crude oil production plant in Port Arthur, Texas, Motiva Enterprises reported.
Harvey has been compared in some ways to Hurricane Katrina, which 12 years ago devastated New Orleans, killing 1,800 people and injuring about $ 108 billion.
The CNH said Tuesday afternoon that Harvey had caused the fall of 1318 millimeters of rain over Texas, a record for any storm over the mainland.