Harvey causes ‘catastrophic flooding’ in Houston, shuts down airport

Hurricane Harvey continued to pound southeastern Texas on Sunday with “catastrophic flooding” in Houston that led to at least one death and an aiport shutdown caused by standing water on the runways. 

More than 1,000 people were rescued overnight Sunday. At least one person died due to the flooding, Houston Fire Department’s Sheldra Brigham said. Paramedics found the individual in a vehicle just before 10 p.m. A doctor, a passerby who stopped to help, was already at the scene and pronounced the person dead. 

“[I] cannot emphasize enough how much flooding there is on roadways. You are endangering yourself and our first responders by being out. Stay put,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo wrote on Twitter. 

The hurricane dumped nearly 24 inches of rain in the Houston area, causing “life-threatening catastrophic flooding” in southeastern Texas, The National Hurricane Center reported. Up to 40 inches of rain are expected in some parts. Many residents fled to their attics for safety, though Acevedo urged people to go on their roofs instead, warning that people could get stuck indoors with no way out. 

“Reports of people getting into attic to escape floodwater — do not do so unless you have an ax or means to break through onto your roof,” Avedo wrote on Twitter. 

Theh Houston Sheriff’s Department urged residents with “non-life threatening water” to stay indoors because it “is safer than going uotside.” 

“Difficult scary, but we’ll get to you. Pls shelter in place. Be safe,” the departmemt wrote. 

The airfield was closed at William P Hobby Airport Saturday night due to standing water on the runways, according to FOX26. Hundreds of flights were canceled and travelers were left stranded in the area. 

Harvey downgraded to a tropical storm when it made landfall as a Category 4 in Texas. The hurricane center says in its 4 a.m. Sunday update that the tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72.42 kph) and remains stationary about 45 miles (72.42 kilometers) northwest of Victoria, Texas.

A second person was confirmed dead in a house fire as the hurricane came ashore Friday night. Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills Jr. told the Austin American-Statesman that 12 to 14 other people were injured.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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