Houston police make 3,400 rescues as Harvey gears up for another landfall

HOUSTON — Harvey’s havoc continued to pour down, three days after the storm rammed Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, unleashing a torrent of rain, turning streets into rivers and leaving thousands of residents stranded in flooded homes.

Harvey, a tropical storm by Tuesday morning with its eye hovering over the Gulf of Mexico, could still dump up to 15 inches of rain on portions of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, including the saturated Houston area, where thousands have been rescued and many more people still wait for help.

Headed east, the storm was due to dump more heavy rain across both states, worsening the “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding situation, before making landfall again Wednesday morning near the Texas-Louisiana border.

Four people have died as a result of the catastrophic storm, and thousands of Texans are believed to have sat in darkness overnight Monday amid rising floodwaters.

“The Coast Guard is continuing to receive upwards of 1,000 calls per hour,” U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Mike Hart said Monday.

The Coast Guard rescued more than 3,000 people on Monday, he said.

Houston police have rescued at least 3,400 people in the aftermath — and that number is expected to rise, police chief Art Acevedo said.

Levees at Columbia Lakes in Brazoria County have been breached, according to the official Brazoria County website.

“Get out now,” the alert reads.

Portions of Brazoria County, due south of Houston, had been under a mandatory evacuation notice since Sunday.

People have turned to the walkie-talkie app Zello to report their dire circumstances.

Among them were an elderly couple trapped on a roof and a family caught in the maelstrom with three children, including one in the throes of a seizure and another with autism.

Search-and-rescue efforts unfolded at an inundated overpass in northeast Houston as residents walked through murky floodwater amid the rain. Many tried to help each other, and some guided seniors through the submerged street.

And the water won’t stop rising anytime soon. Swollen rivers in east Texas aren’t expected to crest until later this week, and federal officials are already predicting the deadly storm will drive 30,000 people into shelters and spur 450,000 people to seek some sort of disaster assistance.

President Donald Trump will visit parts of the state on Tuesday to survey relief efforts.

“To the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are 100 percent with you,” Trump said Monday, adding that he believes Congress will act quickly to provide disaster-relief funding.

Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center hosted 9,021 evacuees on Monday night, said Bob Mayer, Red Cross disaster program manager.

Those who couldn’t get a cot were given pillows and blankets to sleep on the floor, Red Cross spokeswoman Betsy Robertson said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said city officials were looking for more shelter space.

Dallas is preparing to open a mega-shelter at its downtown convention center on Tuesday morning.

The Pentagon is identifying resources, including trucks, aircraft and troops, that can be dispatched for hurricane relief if the request comes, defense officials said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard, roughly 12,000 Guardsmen, on Monday.

In Harris County, authorities asked stranded people to hang sheets or towels from their homes so rescuers could spot them more easily.

The scope of how many people are trapped in flooded homes remains unclear.

Rep. Al Green said he believes 10,000 people are still trapped in flooded homes in just one section of Houston he toured.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said she believes the number of trapped residents across Houston could be “tens of thousands.”