Tropical Storm Harvey lashed central Texas with torrential rains, raising fears of catastrophic flooding after the mega storm — the most powerful to hit the US since 2005 — left a deadly trail of devastation on the Gulf Coast.
The storm has caused at least two deaths since making landfall late Friday as a Category Four hurricane, pummelling the town of Rockport outside Corpus Christi with sustained winds of 215 kilometres per hour, the National Hurricane Centre said.
One person was killed when his house caught fire in the Rockport area, local officials said.
And in Houston, a woman drowned when she left her car which had stalled in high water.
“Cannot emphasise enough how much flooding there is on roadways. You are endangering yourself and our first responders by being out,” Houston Police chief Art Acevedo tweeted.
“Most areas of the city are being impacted by flood waters. Do not think it’s safe to be driving.”
Harvey slowly weakened as it advanced, ripping off roofs, flipping mobile homes, sending boats floating into deserted streets and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power on the Gulf Coast, home to some of the country’s most important oil refineries.
The latest forecasts show Harvey hovering over the shore for the next four or five days — a dangerous possibility, given the amount of potential additional rainfall.
In Houston, a city of 2.3 million, streets turned into fast moving rivers with officials urging residents to stay at home.
While most heeded advice to head to safety, some hunkered down in Corpus Christi — a city of about 325,000, where residents were told to boil water before using.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. We have strong winds — we’re right next to the bay — but nothing like last night,” store owner Brandon Gonzalez said.
“I was even a little bit terrified of what was going to happen. Our building was shaking back and forth. It really got bad.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at least 50 centimetres of rain fell in some areas — with another 35 or 50 possible.