Houston will finally get a respite from Hurricane Harvey today, but the city of Port Arthur faces “dire” circumstances. Harvey made its second landfall, hammering southwest Louisiana with as much as ten inches of rain. The mayor of Port Arthur announced on Facebook that his “city is under water right now”:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 30, 2017
The National Hurricane Center says Harvey is back on land after coming ashore early Wednesday just west of Cameron, Louisiana. The tropical storm is expected to weaken and continue north.
Harvey made landfall for the second time about 5 miles west of Cameron with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
Center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said Tuesday that when Harvey came back to shore, it would be “the end of the beginning.”
Harvey is forecast to drop substantial amounts of rain on Louisiana before moving on to Arkansas, Tennessee and parts of Missouri, which could also see flooding.
Port Arthur has already gotten 40 inches of rain. The local CBS affiliate reports that there are no resources for water rescues in the city as a wall of water descends on its residents. County officials shut down their rescue operations last night:
A large number of water rescues are needed in Port Arthur with 10 to 15 feet of water heading their way and no resources to save them.
The situation in Port Arthur is dire, with homes expected to flood and residents there unsure of how to get out of the city.
Port Arthur city officials did not call for evacuations earlier Tuesday. Jefferson County emergency officials shut down rescue operations at nightfall Tuesday.
Sheriff Zena Stephens says the county resources can’t get to Port Arthur because of the flooding.
It’s not any better in Beaumont, either. Mayor Becky Ames tells NBC that they have gone past their capacity to contain the water, and it’s still coming:
WATCH: "Every single body of water around us is at capacity and overflowing and the rain is still coming down." -Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames pic.twitter.com/IrnJumh0Jt
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 30, 2017
In Houston, residents might see the sun today for the first time since Harvey hit. Forecasts predict less than an inch of rain today in the city. Flood waters are still rising, however, in part due to the overload on dams and levees in the region. The danger will remain for at least the next few days; Houston’s clay soil does not absorb water very well, and it will take a long time for the water to run off. At that point, city officials may have to condemn some roads and bridges due to damage from the floods, which will complicate search and rescue efforts. Shelters have already taken in more than 17,000 people, and when rescue efforts can finally get well underway, that number is certain to increase dramatically.
Unfortunately, the water isn’t the only threat to people in Houston. Criminals are posing as ICE agents to gain entry to people’s homes by issuing false evacuation orders:
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.
The residents of Houston and other Harvey disaster areas will have to defend themselves from these vultures as well as the impact of the natural disaster that befell them.
Just to remind readers, there are plenty of good people on the ground responding to this emergency, too. The American Red Cross, Save the Children, Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities are among the top-rated groups by Charity Navigator who are responding directly to this catastrophe. I’ll speak more with Scott Wilder from Save the Children about their efforts and the need for resources on today’s Hot Air at the Fair show.