86 percent of the bayou flood gauges around Harris County and Houston are near or above flood stage, 27 August 2017. Graphic: Tim Heller  ABC13

By Ruthy Munoz and Gary McWilliams
27 August 2017

HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) – Emergency crews raced to pull people from cars and homes as flood waters rose across southeast Texas on Sunday, rescuing more than 1,000 people in the Houston area as Tropical Storm Harvey pounded the region.

Harvey came ashore late Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years and has killed at least two people. The death toll is expected to rise as the storm lashes the U.S. state for days, triggering more floods, tidal surges and tornadoes.

Harvey is forecast to arc slowly toward Houston through Wednesday. The center of the storm is still 125 miles (201.17 km) southwest of the fourth most populous city in the United States.

Emergency services told people to climb onto the roofs of their houses rather than into their attics to escape rapidly rising waters. Authorities warned the city’s more than two million residents not to leave flooded homes because many of the city’s roads were underwater.

The Twitter account of the sheriff of Harris County, which includes most of Houston, was inundated with rescue requests. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said his deputies responded to unconfirmed reports of a deceased woman and child inside a submerged vehicle on a highway near Houston.

Another resident described seeing a woman’s body floating in the streets during a flash flood in west Houston. The flood was several feet high, the resident told local TV station abc13.

Gonzalez’ stretched rescue teams were struggling to deal with requests for help.

“All agencies care but everyone simply operating at maximum capacity,” he tweeted at one point. […]

Harvey threatens to break the record established nearly 40 years ago when Alvin, Texas, was deluged by 43 inches of rain in 24 hours on July 24-25, 1979. [more]

Crews rescue hundreds from homes and cars as Harvey floods Houston

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