Aerial view of houses in Northwest Houston submerged in floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey. Photo: Adrees Latif / REUTERS

By Emily Flitter and Andy Sullivan
1 September 2017

PORT ARTHUR, Texas/HOUSTON (Reuters) – A week after Hurricane Harvey came ashore in Texas, rescuers pressed their marathon search for survivors on Friday in large pockets of land that remained flooded by one of the costliest natural disasters to hit the United States.

The storm has displaced more than 1 million people with 44 feared dead from flooding that paralyzed Houston, swelled river levels to record highs and knocked out the drinking water supply in Beaumont, Texas, a city of about 120,000 people.

Chemicals maker Arkema SA and public health officials warned of the risk of more explosions and fires at a plant owned by the company. Blasts had rocked the facility, about 25 miles east of Houston and zoned off inside a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) exclusion zone, on Thursday after it was engulfed by floodwater.

With three months to go in the official Atlantic hurricane system, a new storm, Irma, had strengthened into a Category 3 storm, the midpoint of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, on Friday. It remained hundreds of miles from land but was forecast to possibly hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti by the middle of next week.

Harvey shut about a quarter of U.S. refinery capacity, much of which is clustered along the Gulf Coast, and caused gasoline prices to spike to a two-year high ahead of the long Labor Day holiday weekend. [more]

A week after Harvey, cities deluged and one million displaced

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