Monster storm Harvey hit the south Texas coast late Friday and then stalled, gushing torrents of rain over Houston, the country’s fourth largest city with six million people in the greater metropolitan area.
The storm continues to pour rain as it heads slowly through neighboring Louisiana.
How much rain?
Up to 52 inches (132 centimetres) of rain fell from Saturday through Wednesday morning in parts of coastal Texas, and more than 30 inches in Houston. That translates into some 11 trillion gallons (41 trillion liters) of rainwater dumped on the region.
The National Weather Service said Cedar Bayou, a saltwater channel on the coast, recorded 51.88 inches of rain — a record for a single tropical cyclone in the continental United States.
Officials believe Harvey to have killed 33 people in Texas, with fears the death toll could rise.
Of the 55 people reported missing as the storm struck Houston, police said that 38 had been located by Wednesday afternoon.
There are approximately 230 emergency shelters set up to house more than 30,000 people, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Another 1,800 people were in hotels and motels, the agency said.
More than 200,000 people have so far registered for emergency financial aid. FEMA has already dispersed more than $35 million. Charities and other federal, state and local agencies are also offering aid.
Officials estimate as many as 500,000 people will ultimately seek help from the federal government.
Damage costs for the 50 counties authorities say have been affected could range between $48 billion to $75 billion, according to data modeling released Wednesday by Enki Research. That would put it among the top five costliest storms in US history.
Much of the damage will not be covered by insurance, because flood coverage can be difficult or too expensive to obtain.