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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Hurricane Harvey: Experts warn of ‘life-threatening’ flooding

One person has died in the city of Rockport, Texas, where Harvey made landfall

The National Hurricane Center in the United States has warned that Tropical Storm Harvey is expected to cause “life-threatening” flooding.

Harvey arrived on the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday night as a category four hurricane and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

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On Saturday afternoon, the storm was 45 miles (72 km) west-northwest of Victoria, Texas, which lies 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

A woman stands on her front door as she surveys her property which was left devastated by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport. Adrees Latif/ Reuters
A woman stands on her front door as she surveys her property which was left devastated by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport. Adrees Latif/ Reuters

The Center said little motion is expected during the next few days and that maximum sustained winds have decreased to around 65 mph (104 kph).

A judge in the city of Rockport, Texas, where the storm made landfall, confirmed that one person had died in a house fire, which is being blamed on Harvey.

The remnants of the hurricane spun deeper into Texas on Saturday afternoon and unloaded extraordinary amounts of rain. NASA/NOAA via AP
The remnants of the hurricane spun deeper into Texas on Saturday afternoon and unloaded extraordinary amounts of rain. NASA/NOAA via AP

The victim was discovered after the storm moved away and emergency services are looking for people who need help.

The coastal city is experiencing power outages and is mostly deserted by its residents, who were told to flee the storm. Properties have been severely damaged and some have been completely destroyed.

Hurricane shelters have been set up in advance of the storm, with officials reassuring undocumented immigrants that they would not need to show identification to use the shelters.

A man waits in a wheelchair in a hurricane shelter. Rick Wilking/ Reuters.
A man waits in a wheelchair in a hurricane shelter. Rick Wilking/ Reuters.

Hours before Harvey arrived, local officials told anyone ignoring an evacuation order should write their names and social security numbers on their arms to help identification.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned that there was "potential for very dramatic flooding", adding there was a possibility of between 20 and 30 inches (51 to 76 centimeters) more of rain from Corpus Christi to Houston.

Harvey is the most powerful hurricane to hit the state of Texas in more than 50 years. It made landfall as a category four – the second strongest of five classifications - in an area of huge economic importance, home to oil facilities and America’s fourth largest city, Houston.