20:46 GMT21 September 2020
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    With the entire Texas National Guard activated, officials sped up rescue efforts as now-tropical storm Harvey sits in warm Gulf of Mexico waters before making its scheduled return to Texas' coastline Wednesday.

    One of the worst flood disasters in US history, officials speculate Harvey could leave the Lone Star State with an additional 50 inches of rain by the end of the week, according to the Weather Channel. The National Weather Service described the hurricane's impact as "catastrophic and unprecedented" in a tweet on Sunday.

    ​The floodwaters are already reaching the tops of single-story homes, and stranded Houston residents have been urged to wait for rescue officials on their roofs. The latest numbers show that upwards of 2,000 water rescues have already taken place in the Magnolia City, and more than 200 requests for help are still pending.

    More evacuations are expected as several swollen waterways reach record-breaking levels. The death toll following Harvey's late Friday landfall is already more than 10. Officials anticipate more than 30,000 people will seek temporary shelter.

    Upped from 12, a total of 18 counties have been added to an earlier federal disaster list that prompted the involvement of FEMA.

    "We'll be here until we can restore this region to as normal as possible," Texas Governor Greg Abbott, told reporters.

    Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport have been shut down due to the rising water levels and won't be opened again until certain requirements are met.

    "We are not putting a deadline on this," Bill Begley, the airport system's spokesman, said. "[There is] a whole list of boxes that need to be checked before we open airports again."

    George Bush Intercontinental Airport hit a new daily rainfall max with 16.07 inches, breaking its 1945 record of 8.32 inches, the National Weather Service reported.

    According to Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist for Harris County Flood District, roughly 419 billion gallons of water have already fallen on the Houston area, local station KTRK reported.

    ​"FEMA's going to be here for years," Brock Long told CNN's State of the Union. "We're already pushing forward recovery housing teams, we're setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years."

    New mandatory evacuations have been launched in parts of downtown Houston by Abbott over fears that rising water levels for Brazos River could breach local levees and flood even more homes and businesses.

    ​Abbott told the National Weather Service the historic flooding was "beyond anything experienced before."

    "A 59-foot river level threatens to overtop many of the levees in our area," Robert Hebert, a Fort Bend county judge, told the weather service. "If you are in a mandatory evacuation zone, please leave. If you do not, you may be in danger and we many not be able to help."

    Long later indicated the federal government has directed 5,000 people to Texas and Louisiana, as the tropical storm is expected to flood parts of the Bayou State later this week. Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and New Orleans are likely to see heavy rainfall, and officials report isolated tornadoes could also be a possibility.

    ​The Weather Channel reported "one location southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, has seen almost 10 inches of rain as of midday Monday." This is before the full impact of Harvey is even being felt. It is expect that the storm will drop more than 15 inches of rain in the state's southwest region.

    Charlotte Jones Anderson, the executive vice president and chief brand officer for the Dallas Cowboys, announced Monday that the football team will be holding a telethon to raise money for disaster relief efforts.

    ​"This is a day of Texans helping Texans," Anderson said in a press briefing. "We hope that we can just do our part and lend support to you all."

    US President Donald Trump will not be visiting the Houston area during his trip to the friendship state on Tuesday, Abbott announced Monday.

    "The place he will be going to will not be Houston, so [he] will not be getting into harm's way or interrupting the evacuations or emergency response in the Houston area," the Texas governor informed CBS. "He most likely will be going closer to where the hurricane hit land."


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