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More than 30,000 people expected in shelters as extent of Harvey’s blow comes into chilling focus

Kevin Sullivan, Robert Samuels, Emily Wax-Thibodeau

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HOUSTON — In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Houston and an ever-expanding swath of cities and towns remained under siege Monday by torrential rain and surging floodwaters with officials predicting more than 30,000 people may be forced into temporary shelters.


“We are not out of the woods yet,” Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security secretary, told reporters.

In a sign of the magnitude of the disaster, more than 30,000 people are expected to be housed in shelters even as rescue officials were still piecing together the extent of the damage to homes and businesses, said William “Brock” Long, admistrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The already-dire circumstances were complicated by the release of water from two reservoirs opened to relieve the stress caused by a downpour that was threatening to equal or exceed in just a few days the area’s average rainfall for a full year.

Parts of Harris County, which encompasses Houston, were pelted with 30 inches of rain in the past 72 hours, the National Weather Service reported early Monday.

Authorities also fielded scores of calls for help throughout the night from people stranded by water, though many areas had imposed curfew overnight Sunday in hopes of cutting down on the numbers in need of being rescued from vehicles. Help was pouring in from swift-water rescue teams from around the country.

The full extent of Harvey’s aftermath started to come into chilling focus Monday in Houston and across much of Central Texas, as rain measured in feet, not inches, overwhelmed lakes, rivers and bayous, leaving several people dead and thousands displaced in a weather disaster described as “beyond anything experienced.”

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