Harvey aftermath: Death toll rises, so do the floodwaters

HOUSTON -- With countless Houstonians still awaiting rescue, tropical storm Harvey devoured another Texas city.

The unrelenting storm unleashed its wrath on a wide swath east of Houston, leaving thousands stranded in flooded homes and forcing the evacuation of a nursing facility and even an emergency shelter where residents had sought refuge.

"Our whole city is underwater right now but we are coming!" Port Arthur Mayor Derrick Freeman posted Wednesday on Facebook. "If you called, we are coming. Please get to higher ground if you can, but please try (to) stay out of attics."

At least 35 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath have been reported in Texas. One of them, Houston police Sgt. Steve Perez, drowned while trying to get to work.

"To those Americans who have lost loved ones, all of America is grieving with you and our hearts are joined with yours forever," President Donald Trump said in Springfield, Missouri.

The storm left record-setting rain in Harris County -- which saw 19 deaths -- before unleashing 15 inches in the Beaumont area, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Emergency workers and throngs of volunteers went door to door for a fifth day Wednesday, trying to rescue victims of the flood. Houston police chief Art Acevedo said authorities have received 60,000 to 70,000 calls for help.

"We just pray that the body count ... won't rise significantly." Acevedo said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for two civilian rescuers who were swept away after their boat capsized Tuesday night, the Harris County Sheriff's Office tweeted Wednesday.

Three volunteers were trying to cross Cypress Creek when their boat crashed and capsized, sending all three under a bridge. One of the volunteers was found clinging to a tree.

About one-third of the Houston area is covered in water. And it's unclear exactly how many people still need to be rescued, Texas Military Department spokesman Lt. Col. Travis Walters said.

For the first time since the weekend, authorities said, the flooding in Houston is slowly receding in some areas.

The Houston Astros announced they will play a doubleheader at home on Saturday against the New York Mets. The team played the Texas Rangers in St. Petersburg, Florida, this week because of the hurricane.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the home game will provide "a much-needed boost for our city" and offer residents "some aspect of normal life."

But dangerous flooding will continue from Houston all the way into southwestern Louisiana for the rest of the week, the National Weather Service said.