Flooding fears mount as powerful storm hits US

A man walks through flood waters and onto the main road after surveying his property which was hit by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, on Aug 26, 2017.
A man walks through flood waters and onto the main road after surveying his property which was hit by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, on Aug 26, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

CORPUS CHRISTI (Texas) • The most powerful hurricane to hit the US state of Texas in more than 50 years moved slowly inland yesterday, dumping torrential rain expected to cause catastrophic flooding after battering the coast with 209kmh winds.

Mr Donald Trump, facing the first big natural disaster of his presidency, said in a series of tweets yesterday he was "closely monitoring" the hurricane from the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.

"We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Govs. working great together!" he said in a tweet.

Earlier, he said he had signed a disaster proclamation, which "unleashes the full force of government help", shortly before Harvey made landfall.

Harvey is the strongest storm to hit Texas, the centre of the US oil and gas industry, since 1961.

The hurricane came ashore north-east of Corpus Christi late on Friday with maximum winds of 209kmh. That made it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the most powerful storm in over a decade to hit the mainland US.

But it weakened further while moving across southern Texas yesterday and was on the cusp of becoming a tropical storm, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Harvey is expected to maintain tropical storm strength for at least four days, bringing heavy rains and flooding.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 27, 2017, with the headline 'Flooding fears mount as powerful storm hits US'. Print Edition | Subscribe