WHAT'S HAPPENING: Deaths rise, plant to explode amid flood

HOUSTON (AP) — Harvey has weakened as it leaves Texas and its floodwaters are dropping in much of the Houston area, but the death toll from the storm continues to rise, a chemical plant is poised to explode and other states are expected to see rain and possibly flooding. Here are some things...

HOUSTON (AP) — Harvey has weakened as it leaves Texas and its floodwaters are dropping in much of the Houston area, but the death toll from the storm continues to rise, a chemical plant is poised to explode and other states are expected to see rain and possibly flooding. Here are some things happening on the ground:

THE FORECAST

Harvey still is expected to bring lots of rain and potential damage after being downgraded to a tropical depression late Wednesday. Four to 8 inches are forecast from the Texas-Louisiana line into Tennessee and Kentucky through Friday. More flooding is possible, as some spots may get as much as a foot of rain. Forecasters said the rain is pretty much over for much of the Houston area, though.

THE DEAD

The number of confirmed deaths linked to Harvey is at least 31. It includes six family members — four of them children — whose bodies were pulled Wednesday from a van that had been swept off a Houston bridge into a bayou.

With floodwaters dropping, the Houston Fire Department said it plans on Thursday to start conducting a block-by-block search of areas in the city that had been inaccessible to firefighters. The searching of the homes will ensure "no people were left behind," Assistant Fire Chief Richard Mann said.

CHEMICAL PLANT

A flooded chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Houston, is poised to explode, a spokeswoman said late Wednesday. The timing and extent of the danger are not clear, but the Arkema Inc. plant was left without refrigeration for chemicals after losing power and backup generators amid Harvey flooding.

"As the temperature rises, the natural state of these materials will decompose," spokeswoman Janet Smith told The Associated Press. "A white smoke will result, and that will catch fire. So the fire is imminent. The question is when."

The company shut down the plant before Harvey made landfall last week. A crew of 11 that remained has been removed. Residents within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) were told to evacuate Tuesday after the plant lost power.

CELLPHONE SERVICES

Cellphone networks are largely functional in the Texas and Louisiana regions hit by Harvey. Cellphone companies brought in supplemental equipment and backup power. They also diagnosed problems using drones.

The storm knocked out fewer than 400 of the more than 7,800 cell towers in the affected counties. Hurricane Katrina disabled more than 1,000 cell towers in 2005.

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