Harvey arrives in Louisiana as death toll climbs

HOUSTON — The Texas community of Port Arthur found itself increasingly isolated Wednesday as Harvey‘s rains flooded most major roads out of the city and swamped a shelter for victims fleeing the storm that ravaged the Houston area. 

The crisis deepened in the coastal city after Harvey rolled ashore overnight for the second time in six days, this time hitting southwestern Louisiana, about 45 miles from Port Arthur.

In the Houston area, meanwhile, some sunshine was finally in the forecast after five straight days of rain that totaled close to 52 inches, the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental United States. But the crisis was far from over.

Harvey’s death toll rose to at least 11 after police confirmed Wednesday morning that a woman’s death in Beaumont was related to the storm.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss recovery efforts.


This satellite image shows Harvey hitting parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas on Aug. 30, 2017.

CBS News

Follow along below for live updates on the storm. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.

Hurricane Harvey updates:

11:43 a.m.: Chemical plant at risk of explosion prompts evacuation

A chemical plant is at risk of exploding after floodwaters caused by Harvey knocked out electricity to the facility in Crosby, Texas, officials said Tuesday.

Arkema Inc. said in a statement that it was evacuating a small number of remaining employees from the plant in Crosby, about 20 miles northeast of downtown Houston. The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office ordered residents in a 1.5-mile radius around the site to evacuate Tuesday evening.

The plant manufactures products and chemicals that must be stored at low temperatures, the company said. Flooding knocked out power to its warehouses, and backup generators were also compromised. Rising temperatures in the storage facilities could trigger a chemical reaction that sparks a fire or explosion, the company said. 

Read the full story here.

11:22 a.m.: Officials warn of potential levee breach in Houston suburb

Harris County flood control officials are concerned that a levee could fail in a suburban Houston subdivision in the north of the county, thus adding to the Harvey-related floods. 

Spokesman Jeff Lindner says if the weakened section of levee along Cypress Creek in Inverness Forest is breached, water is going to rise “very quickly and very fast, and it is going to be deep.” 

He says the water could reach the rooftops of homes immediately in the levee area. The area is under a mandatory evacuation order due to Harvey, but some residents have remained. 

Lindner says county authorities are working with several agencies to figure out how to increase pressure on the outside of the levee to compensate for the tremendous pressure inside due to record amounts of water.

10:28 a.m.: Nearly all Houston-area waterways crest

Officials say nearly all Houston-area waterways inundated by Harvey’s record rainfall have crested, but that water levels continue to rise in two flood-control reservoirs.

Jeff Lindner of the Harris County Flood Control District says river levels are going down Wednesday “for the first time in several days.”

Army Corps of Engineers regional engineer Edmond Russo says water in the Barker and Addicks reservoirs in west Houston rose slightly overnight and is likely to crest Wednesday, but slightly below forecast levels.

The reservoirs have received 32 to 35 inches of rain since Harvey hit last weekend, but Russo says less than an inch of rain is forecast in the coming week.

Lindner says “we’re getting very close to the peak of both reservoirs.”

9:02 a.m.: Thousands at Houston convention center

About 8,300 people spent the night at the George R. Brown Convention Center Tuesday — about a thousand fewer people than the day before. The Red Cross told CBS News Wednesday morning that everyone inside the convention center now has a cot and people can also take showers.

On Tuesday, “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell spoke to a woman about the conditions inside. She went back later in the day to see the situation herself.

“Houston wasn’t prepared. The government wasn’t prepared. The mayor wasn’t prepared,” said Harvey evacuee Michelle Lavan.

8:15 a.m.: Large refinery shutting down due to flooding

Motiva Enterprises announced early Wednesday that it had started a controlled shutdown of its major refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, because of flooding. The company said the refinery would be restarted when the floodwaters receded.

6:03 a.m.: Dire situation in Port Arthur

CBS Beaumont affiliate KFDM-TV reported the situation in Port Arthur was “dire” early Wednesday, with homes expected to fill with rising floodwaters and residents unsure how to evacuate the city. Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens told the station some county residents had gone into “survival mode.”

After five days of torrential rain, the latest weather forecast predicted less than an inch more and perhaps even sunshine for the Houston area.

However, the dangers were far from over. Authorities reported at least 10 deaths from Harvey.

In all, more than 17,000 people have sought refuge in Texas shelters, and that number seemed certain to increase, the American Red Cross said.

Houston’s largest shelter housed 10,000 of the displaced as two additional mega-shelters opened Tuesday for the overflow. Louisiana’s governor offered to take in Harvey victims from Texas, and televangelist Joel Osteen opened his Houston megachurch, a 16,000-seat former arena, after critics blasted him on social media for not acting to help families displaced by the storm.

12:50 a.m.: Houston warns residents of imposter ICE agents

The city of Houston Tuesday night warned residents about imposter Homeland Security agents who are telling people to evacuate their homes, in what the city said it believes is an effort to rob houses. 

Real Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents wear badges labeled “special agent” and they carry credentials, Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement. Residents should ask to see the badges and the credentials of anyone who says they are agents.

Additionally, ICE agents are not enforcing immigration raids during the emergency.


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