Update 2017-08-29: According to expert assessments, the widespread floods in Houston and southern Texas may lead to a rise of water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. Toxic chemicals may also have been released into the environment. The rescue efforts are continuing and residents are still being evacuated from areas affected by the floods. Thousands of people were accommodated in emergency shelters. It is expected, that a total of 30,000 people have to leave their houses. Since Monday (28 August), the police is warning against lootings in the affected areas. 267,000 people were still affected by power blackouts on Monday evening (28 August, local time). Further strong rainfalls are expected to affect the region on Wednesday (30 August) and Thursday (31 August). Floods are also to be expected in Louisiana.
Travellers are advised to avoid contact with the flood water, to only used boiled drinking water or water from properly sealed bottles, as well as to observe measures against insect bites and additional hygiene measures.
AFP, dpa, Reuters
Update 2017-08-28: Oil refineries along the coast including in Baytown, Corpus Christi, and Galveston, had to be closed due to the widespread floods, also the second largest oil refinery of the country owned by ExxonMobil. Offshore platforms had already been closed earlier. Supply routes of the automobile industry were not yet affected. Medical supplies and food safety may also be compromised due to inadequate cooling resulting from ongoing power blackouts. Around 250,000 people are still affected by power blackouts, according to an assessment of the electricity grid operator CenterPoint Energy from Sunday evening (27 August, local time). However, many flooded areas remain out of reach, so the number of affected people is expected to be higher. Besides the floods, there was also storm damage, mostly to mobile homes, roofs, and trees. At least three people were killed in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey so far, however, the number of casualties is expected to rise. Residents were advised to only call the 911 emergency line when facing a life-threatening situation.
The heavy rainfalls are expected to continue for one week. Further tornadoes are also expected to hit the affected area as well as storm tides in coastal areas. According to insurance companies, the floods are the most devastating floods in the history of Houston. According to the US-American disaster management FEMA, the recovery might take years.
Update 2017-08-27 (1): More than 2,000 people were rescued until Sunday afternoon (27 August, local time). At least 3,000 National Guard members were activated to help with emergencies in Texas as more than 250 roads were closed and Houston's largest hospital Ben Taub has been evacuated. Both international airports have been closed; Hobby airport will be closed until Wednesday (30 August). More than 250,000 buildings were without power. Further torrential rains and possible tornados have been forecast.
Further floods and a deterioration of the situation is thus to be expected
AFP, CNN, BBC
2017-08-27: Following hurricane Harvey's landfall, severe floods have been reported out of Houston, Harris County and surrounding towns on Sunday (27 August). Galveston has also been hit. At least two people died in flood-related incidents. Several feet of water are being reported, with streets inundated. Authorities are urging people to stay in place until rescue and emergency services can reach them. William P Hobby airport has closed, due to floods inside the arrival and departure buildings. Hundreds of flights out of Houston Bush Intercontinental have been cancelled. The rainfall is forecast to continue for several more days.
Further floods and a deterioration of the situation is thus to be expected. Travellers should be extremely careful, in particular near rivers and bodies of water, avoid the area if possible and follow instructions by local authorities.
Weather.com, NPR, NBC, CNN