UPDATED: AUG 28 2017 04:15AM CDT
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund following inquiries from citizens and corporations who offered help. The fund, administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, will accept tax deductible flood relief donations.
“We are getting calls from across the country and right here in our hometown, and the generosity of people who understand this disaster is truly amazing,” said Mayor Turner. “Together we can make a difference to those who will need extensive help to get back on their feet once this storm is over.”
Tropical Storm Harvey slammed Houston with devastating floods pouring into the nation's fourth-largest city, dropping nearly 24" across the Houston-area. On Sunday, rising water sent thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground. Rescuers stepped into high gear to assist with more than 2,000 constant calls for help. Tropical Storm Harvey dropped as much as 24" of rainfall across this area.
Hundreds of people across the Houston area are trapped in floodwaters, with Texans helping their neighbors with boat rescues. Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center is now open for flood victims. More rounds of heavy rain until potentially Thursday or Friday when the system is slated to leave the Houston area.
All commercial flight operations at Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports have ceased until further notice with no flights in and out. Roadways into and out of the airports are closed with Bush Airport affected by flooding.
All drinking water is now safe in the Houston-area and the Woodlands despite rumors.
A mandatory evacuation was ordered by the Rosenberg Police Department for homes on Huntington Road as it is unknown if the bridge into the city will hold as river levels rise as the bridge is the only way out.
Governor Greg Abbott has added the following Texas counties to the Presidential Disaster Declaration granted earlier by Federal Emergency Management Agency:
"Our partners at the federal level have stood ready to answer the call for help from Texas, and I am thankful for their assistance as we continue to assess the situation in expanded areas across our state," said Governor Abbott. "Many parts of Eastern Texas, especially in and around Houston, are experiencing historic flooding causing the need to grow for additional resources that will allow us to answer the call for help from our fellow Texans. I thank those at FEMA for their attention to the severity of the situation in Texas and the people of this great state for coming together in this time of need."
"These communities have suffered a great deal because of this catastrophic storm, but Texans are resilient by nature and will make it through this tough time," said Gov. Abbott. "Resources are being made available to these counties to help Texans get their lives back on track. The state will continue to do everything in its power to engage in the recovery effort and assist those in need of relief."
The White Houston says President Donald Trump will travel to Texas on Tuesday.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is defending his decision not to ask residents to evacuate before the heavy rain from Tropical Storm Harvey swamped roads and neighborhoods across the nation's fourth-largest city.
Turner says at a news conference Sunday that there was no way to pinpoint which neighborhoods would be worst hit. He says every neighborhood has received at least some flooding.
He says, "If you think the situation right now is bad and you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare."
Turner asked people to stay in their homes and not drive if at all possible. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena says authorities have made more than 250 vehicle rescues in the storm.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says emergency personnel have responded to more than 2,000 calls to 911 for rescues in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He said priority was being given to life-threatening calls.
Turner also said at a news conference Sunday that he has ordered the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center opened as a shelter as floodwaters inundated much of the city.
Turner also urged people not to drive, as numerous streets and roadways in Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, were flooded Sunday.
The George R. Brown Convention Center has 1.8 million square feet of space.
Patients and staff have begun to evacuate from Bayshore Medical Center in Pasadena and will transfer to the following health care facilities:
Clear Lake Regional Medical Center
Conroe Regional Medical Center
Houston Northwest Medical Center
Kingwood Medical Center
Mainland Medical Center
Pearland Medical Center
Tomball Regional Medical Center
West Houston Medical Center
Harris County sheriff's spokesman Jason Spencer says flooding throughout the county that includes Houston and the region is so widespread that it's "difficult to pinpoint the worst area."
He says authorities are prioritizing hundreds of phones calls for help to ensure life-and-death situations "are at the top of the list."
"It's heartbreaking," he says.
Spencer says the department has high-water vehicles and airboats but "certainly not enough." He says officials are encouraged that rescue teams from the National Guard and state agencies have also been deployed.
Flooding in some parts of the county that includes the city of Houston is so bad that residents are being urged to seek refuge on their roofs.
Harris County Flood Control District official Jeff Lindner says people inundated by rising waters shouldn't crawl into attics of their homes but should get on top of them.
He says rainfall of more than 4 inches per hour has sent water higher than in recent Houston floods side and are exceeding levels seen in Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001.
Lindner says areas south of the city appear hard-hit and some flooding is reported in downtown Houston and in the Texas Medical Center, which was devastated in Allison.
He calls Harvey "a different animal" from Allison and a "historic situation."
He says he's most amazed that he's getting reports "of water into second-story of apartments and homes." Considering Houston's flat terrain, "it's very rare to get that depth of water."
The City of Pearland will enforcce a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Tonight, the City of Pearland will enforce a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
— City of Pearland (@COPearland) August 27, 2017 >
The airfield is closed at William P. Hobby Airport due to standing water on runways, leading to no inbound or outbound flights. Travelers are encouraged to check their flight statuses before arriving to Hobby Airport.
METRO Houston said it would suspend bus service.
Aransas County Judge C.H. 'Burt' Mills Jr. says there is one confirmed death from Harvey in the coastal city of Rockport.
The tropical system appears to have triggered dangerous potential tornadoes in northwest Harris County where Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said they touched down at least four times with extensive damage in the Lone Oak subdivision near the Berry Cehter.
Wharton Police posted that they were getting reports of a tornado touching down in East Bernard with several homes affected.
President Donald J. Trump has signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“Granting this request will provide Texans the additional resources needed to protect themselves, their property and rebuild their lives if necessary after Hurricane Harvey,” said Governor Abbott. “I spoke with President Trump yesterday and am confident that he will move quickly to grant this request and provide the people of Texas with everything they need to recover from this storm. I want to continue to encourage Texans to take this threat seriously, heed warnings from local officials, and do all they can to prepare as the state of Texas works to ensure we are in the best position to respond to urgent needs following this storm.”
After the Federal Emergency Management Agency granted the request, Gov. Abbott released the following statement:
I want to thank the President and FEMA for their quick response in granting this disaster declaration. We will continue to work with our federal and local partners on all issues relating to this storm, and I encourage Texans to continue heeding all warnings from local officials.
During a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Gov. Abbott said that 80 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers are assigned to the Corpus Christi area while 228 buses have been dispatched to help evacuees. 1,000 state employees have been assigned to search and rescue efforts.
Texas Department of Transportation crews have already begun road cleanup operations.
A disaster declaration has been issued for 50 Texas counties.
Twenty inches of rainfall has already been recorded in the Corpus Christi area.
A tropical storm warning is in effect until Wednesday night for the following counties:
A flash flood warning is in effect until 7:15 a.m. Monday for the following counties:
A flash flood watch is in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday for the following southeast Texas counties:
Harvey is the first Category 3 or stronger hurricane to make landfall since Hurricane Wilma in October 2005.