The Latest: Houston-area reservoirs to drain for months

HOUSTON (AP) β€” The Latest on Tropical Depression Harvey (all times local): 4:35 p.m. Houston-area officials say it could take about three months for two reservoirs swamped by Harvey to drain. The Harris County Flood Control District said Friday that water must continue to be released from the...

HOUSTON (AP) β€” The Latest on Tropical Depression Harvey (all times local):

4:35 p.m.

Houston-area officials say it could take about three months for two reservoirs swamped by Harvey to drain.

The Harris County Flood Control District said Friday that water must continue to be released from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs to protect their structural integrity.

Releases from the reservoirs have contributed to flooding of homes in western Houston. The flood control district also says draining the reservoirs is crucial in case more heavy rain comes.

District meteorologist Jeff Lindner said some houses have several feet of water in them now. The water reaches to the rooftops of others.

Lindner said a combined 13,000 cubic feet (368 cubic meters) per second is pouring from the reservoirs now. In 10 to 15 days, the district hopes to cut that amount to 4,000 cubic feet (113 cubic meters) per second.


4:05 p.m.

A Houston-area man returned to his Harvey-flooded house to find an unwelcome visitor inside: a 9-foot-long (nearly 3 meters) alligator.

KTRK-TV reports Brian Foster of Humble (UHM'-buhl) discovered the reptile Friday morning when arriving with a work crew to clean the storm-damaged residence. The alligator was in the dining room of the home.

Foster summoned emergency workers, who asked game wardens for assistance.

Video of the reptile removal shows it took four men to carry the alligator, with its snout taped shut. They put the animal in the back of a pickup truck.

The reptile is being returned to its pre-Harvey natural habitat.


3:40 p.m.

Officials say one of two oil spills that were reported from storage tanks in Texas during flooding from Harvey did not occur.

Texas Railroad Commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye said Friday that there was no spill from an oil storage site in Hochheim where ConocoPhillips on Wednesday reported a 13,272 gallon (316 barrels) spill.

ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo says the company reported the incident out of caution after losing communications with the Hochheim facility. Beaudo says an inspection later determined the storage tanks did not topple into Harvey's floodwaters as originally feared.

ConocoPhillips also reported that an estimated 16,170 gallons (385 barrels) of crude spilled near Westhoff. The company says the actual spill volume still is being determined.


3:20 p.m.

Houston-area officials have updated their survey on the number of homes damaged by Harvey.

The flood control district for Harris County, which includes Houston, said Friday that 156,000 dwellings have been damaged by floodwaters.

Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District, says that's a conservative count.

Harvey initially came ashore Aug. 25 as a Category 4 hurricane, then went back out to sea and lingered off the coast as a tropical storm for days, inundating flood-prone Houston. The storm brought five straight days of rain totaling close to 52 inches (1.3 meters), the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental U.S.


2:45 p.m.

Water service appears to be trickling back for some residents of Beaumont, Texas, where Harvey's floodwaters knocked out municipal service.

Social media posts show some customers had water pressure Friday. The city's pumping station went down after it was inundated more than 24 hours earlier.

Beaumont police have been speaking on behalf of the city and said on Facebook that anyone with running water should boil it before drinking. A spokeswoman for ExxonMobil told CNN that her company and the Army Corp of Engineers had been helping to install a temporary fix.

City officials have been struggling to cope since Thursday, when the swollen Neches River inundated Beaumont's main water intake system and backup pumps failed.

The city and a grocery store gave away bottled water Friday.


2:25 p.m.

An official says the water supply for the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas is expected to run out in a couple of days after a pumping station that supplies its water was submerged in floodwaters from Harvey.

Galveston County spokeswoman Brittany Viegas said Friday that once the water runs out, it could be out for a few weeks, depending on how much damage is found once the floodwaters recede. The pump station is in Winnie, about 30 miles northeast of the peninsula.

She says about 2,000 people live year-round on the Bolivar Peninsula, a narrow strip of land on the Gulf of Mexico. The peninsula is primarily beachfront homes in a number of small communities. Nearly all structures on it were wiped out in Hurricane Ike in 2008.


2:20 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says there's "plenty of gasoline in the state of Texas" and that more is being shipped in from surrounding states.

He said at a news conference in Austin on Friday that a pipeline that had been supplying gasoline from Texas to Oklahoma has been reversed to bolster his state's fuel supply after Harvey.

Abbott said, "Don't worry, we won't run out."

The comments come after widespread reports of gas shortages prompted the head of the Texas agency that regulates the oil and gas industry to urge drivers to wait three or four days to fill up their tanks. Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said panic buying is causing a run on gas and empty fuel pumps.


1:40 p.m.

Aircrafts are swarming a Southeast Texas airport in an urgent effort to evacuate people with critical medical needs as well as others whose homes are flooded.

Alex Rupp, manager of Jack Brooks Regional Airport outside Beaumont, said Friday that hundreds of helicopters and airplanes are flying out every day.

People are being brought on buses from flooded areas and loaded onto planes to fly them to shelters in Dallas and elsewhere. Air ambulances are on standby to evacuate critically ill patients.

The air ambulances on Thursday evacuated babies from the neonatal intensive care unit at Christus St. Elizabeth hospital in Beaumont.

Volunteers are arriving at the airport to feed medical pilots who are on standby and to provide toiletries to first-responders.


1 p.m.

The mayor of Houston is telling residents whose homes are still flooded in the western part of the city to evacuate, because reservoir releases will keep water flowing into their homes for 10 to 15 days.

Mayor Sylvester Turner made the voluntary evacuation announcement Friday, almost a week after Harvey started dumping up to 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain and flooding most of the city. Officials have released water from reservoirs in an attempt to control flooding.

Houston estimates between 15,000 and 20,000 homes are in the area that will continue to flood. It's unclear how many are flooded now. Officials said that if homes aren't currently inundated, they likely won't be.

Turner received a mix of praise and criticism for not ordering people to evacuate the fourth largest city in the U.S. prior to Harvey making landfall.


12:15 p.m.

Executives for the flooded Houston-area chemical plant rocked by fire and explosions say the company didn't envision the kinds of problems that left the highly unstable materials stored at the facility vulnerable.

Arkema's chief executive and vice president on Friday described a hasty effort by workers at its Crosby plant to keep moving around chemicals as the plant began to flood.

One of nine containers holding organic peroxides caught fire and blew up early Thursday. Company officials expect the other eight to do so in the coming days.

Arkema Inc. noted in federal accident plans that were supposed to address worst-case scenarios in 2014 that a hurricane and power loss were hazards, but didn't address what it would do if faced with either.


11:50 a.m.

Authorities say the number of people displaced by Harvey who are staying at shelters in Dallas has surpassed 1,800.

Officials said Friday that more than 1,400 of the evacuees are being housed at the Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas. The rest are at three smaller shelters in the city.

Many of the people at the Hutchison center were flown there from Beaumont on Thursday evening.

A Beaumont spokesman said earlier Friday that about 1,000 people were flown to Dallas, but Sr. Cpl. Debra Webb, a member of Dallas' emergency response team, later said the number was about 700.

Webb says in an email that city officials are expecting to shelter more people from the Beaumont area.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says Harvey has heavily damaged or destroyed more than 55,000 homes.


11:45 a.m.

Two Carnival Cruise Line ships that detoured to New Orleans to wait out Harvey as the storm pounded Texas have arrived at their homeport in Galveston.

Miami-based Carnival says the Carnival Freedom and the Carnival Valor docked at the Port of Galveston on Friday morning, nearly a week after their scheduled return.

Carnival spokeswoman Christine de la Huerta says a third ship that waited out Harvey in New Orleans, the Carnival Breeze, is scheduled to dock in Galveston on Saturday.

De la Huerta says the three cruise ships together carried more than 15,000 passengers and crew. De la Huerta says passengers were allowed to disembark in New Orleans and that about half of them did.


11:20 a.m.

The Corpus Christi Ship Channel has reopened after a nearly weeklong closure due to Harvey.

A Port of Corpus Christi statement says Thursday's reopening is a step toward resuming operations at seven refineries and transporting that fuel to market.

The Corpus Christi Ship Channel was closed to ship traffic, including fuel-hauling tankers, as Harvey slammed the Corpus Christi area Aug. 25.

The statement says Harvey forced refineries in Corpus Christi, Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont and Lake Charles, Louisiana, to close or significantly scale back operations. Port officials estimate about 25 percent of the refining capacity in the region has resumed operations.

According to the Port of Corpus Christi website, the ship channel is 36 miles (58 kilometers) long and 47 feet (14 meters) deep.


11:15 a.m.

Civil Air Patrol volunteers have taken more than 8,600 aerial photos of the Harvey-damaged Texas coast to help state and federal agencies best assign their emergency resources.

A Civil Air Patrol spokesman says flights continued Friday. Steve Cox says the images have been provided to Texas and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials.

Cox says target areas include Corpus Christi and Rockport, where Harvey made landfall a week ago, plus the flooded Houston area and nearby rivers.

Harvey dropped record rains on Texas, badly damaging or destroying more than 55,000 homes.

The Civil Air Patrol is the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.


11:05 a.m.

A coastal county south of Houston is bracing for more Harvey-related flooding as rivers overflow.

Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said Friday that the initial floods came from the torrential rains after the storm hit Aug. 25. He says the second wave is flowing downstream from the north.

Sebesta says some parts of the county are drying out while the water level is rising in the San Bernard River and the Brazos River flood plains.

The National Weather Service has forecast that the San Bernard River near Sweeny will crest this weekend at over 33 feet (10 meters) β€” more than double the flood stage of 16 feet (5 meters). Just north of Sweeny, near West Columbia, the flood stage for the Brazos River is 30 feet (9 meters) but its waters are expected to gradually rise to 32 feet by early next week.

He says Sweeny, West Columbia and other cities are under mandatory evacuation orders.


11 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it has rescued at least 3,000 people from Harvey's floodwaters in the past 48 hours.

Coast Guard Vice Admiral Karl Schultz said Friday that many people were reluctant to flee their homes in the early days of the storm, which first made landfall Aug. 25. But they likely didn't realize how long the flooding would last, or that they might lose water service as has happened in the Southeast Texas city of Beaumont.

Schultz says search-and-rescue operations can be challenging and stressed the importance of rescue workers getting rest, hot meals and spiritual counseling if needed.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has said Harvey heavily damaged more than 46,000 homes and destroyed over 9,000.


10:45 a.m.

A new Texas law now in effect, a week after Harvey made landfall, lowers the penalty for insurers that take too long to pay a claim.

Consumer advocates had urged homeowners impacted by the record-breaking storm to quickly file claims before the changes signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in May kicked in Friday.

State officials say few Harvey victims are likely to be affected because the law doesn't apply to flood insurance claims or coastal residents covered by the state's insurer-of-last-resort.

Insurers sued for dragging out claims previously had to pay 18 percent interest if a court ruled against them. Now that penalty is around 10 percent, which opponents say won't incentivize insurers to act quickly.

State officials say more than 50,000 homes have suffered major damage or were destroyed entirely. More than 200,000 others homes were affected or sustained minor damage.


10:40 a.m.

A pipeline company that halted transport of gasoline and other fuel after Harvey devastated parts of the Texas Gulf Coast hopes to resume deliveries this weekend.

Dolin (DOH'-lin) Argo, vice president of operations and business development for Explorer Pipeline, said Friday that the company closed its two main pipelines days ago. Argo says deliveries should resume this weekend if refined fuel products are available from Texas refineries.

Several refineries in the Houston area shut down as Harvey flooded area cities.

Argo says Explorer personnel were examining above-ground facilities for possible damage.

Explorer is owned by Phillips66, Marathon, Sunoco Logistics and Shell.


10:30 a.m.

A flooded Southeast Texas city has set up a water giveaway point more than 24 hours after Harvey knocked out municipal water service.

A news release says Beaumont will be giving away bottled water near the Babe Zaharias Memorial Stadium until sundown Friday, or until the city runs out.

Officials have been struggling to cope since Thursday, when the swollen Neches River inundated Beaumont's main water intake system and backup pumps failed.

Hundreds of people showed up Friday morning for a separate giveaway hosted by a Kroger grocery store. Initially each person was given four gallons (15 liters), but the store cut back to two gallons (7.5 liters) each as the supply dwindled.

Among those who received some water were 63-year-old Judy Blue and her 83-year-old mother, Dee Silva. They waited in line about an hour.


10:15 a.m.

More than 1,500 people are staying at shelters in Louisiana in Harvey's aftermath, and the number is rising as more people are evacuated from flood-ravaged communities in Texas.

Shauna Sanford, a spokeswoman for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, says 1,510 people were in six Louisiana shelters as of midnight Thursday. She says 1,384 of them came from Texas.

The state opened a seventh shelter in Shreveport on Friday that can accommodate approximately 2,400 people. Sanford says 1,177 people spent the night at a state-run shelter in Alexandria that has a capacity of about 2,500. The state Department of Children and Family Services is overseeing the two state-run shelters.

More than 200 others were staying at a parish-run shelter in Lake Charles. Sanford says the Red Cross opened three shelters β€” two in Rapides Parish and one in Caddo Parish. Another shelter opened at a church in Beauregard Parish.


10:10 a.m.

Approximately 1,000 people have been flown to Dallas from a shelter in Beaumont where residents have no drinking water due to widespread flooding from Harvey.

Brad Peterson, a spokesman for emergency operations in Beaumont, says the people who had sought shelter at the Beaumont Civic Center were flown Thursday evening 300 miles (480 kilometers) to Dallas.

Most have been taken to the Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, and the others are being housed at smaller shelters in the area.

Monica Cordova, a Dallas city spokeswoman, said Friday that nearly 700 people slept at the convention center.

Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast last Friday.


9:45 a.m.

A foundation established by Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell and his wife has pledged $36 million for Harvey relief efforts in his hometown of Houston.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation said Friday it will donate half the amount to launch the Rebuild Texas Fund with Gov. Greg Abbott, and is running a matching campaign through midnight Monday in which the foundation will match $1 for every $2 donated. The Rebuild Texas Fund aims to raise $100 million.

The announcement comes a week after Harvey made landfall in Southeast Texas. The ensuing floods devastated parts of Houston, plus Beaumont and Port Arthur along the Louisiana border.

The statement says the street in Houston where Dell grew up is under water.

Dell Technologies is based in Round Rock, near Austin.


9:25 a.m.

Harvey, Illinois, is offering 10 free houses to Texans who have lost their homes to the storm with which the Chicago suburb shares its name.

Sean Howard, a spokesman for the city, tells WMAQ-TV that volunteer tradesmen and carpenters are going to prepare the homes for the new residents. Renovations could take about six weeks.

The city acquired the homes due to unpaid taxes. Instead of selling the properties to investors, the city is making them permanently available to storm victims.

Harvey -- the storm -- made landfall Aug. 25 along Texas' Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane. Flooding has left thousands of Houston-area families homeless.

Harvey, Illinois, offered a similar program to people who lost their homes in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.


8:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says there is still "so much to do" for Texas to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Trump will travel again to Texas on Saturday.

Trump tweeted Friday that "Texas is heeling (sic) fast thanks to all of the great men & women who have been working so hard." He later corrected the spelling of "healing."

But he says, "still, so much to do."

Trump has proposed federal hiring and budget plans that raise questions about his promised recovery effort.

He also tweeted Friday to praise his new chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, and criticize former FBI Director James Comey over his investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.


8:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump says there is still "so much to do" for Texas to recover from Harvey. Trump will travel again to Texas on Saturday.

Trump tweeted Friday that "Texas is heeling (sic) fast thanks to all of the great men & women who have been working so hard."

But he says, there's "still, so much to do."

Trump has proposed federal hiring and budget plans that raise questions about his promised recovery effort.

Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last Friday.

He also tweeted Friday to praise his new chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, and criticize former FBI Director James Comey over his investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.


8 a.m.

Gov. Greg Abbott says it will take years for Harvey-swamped Texas to "dig out from this catastrophe."

Abbott told ABC's "Good Morning America" Friday that state and federal government will assist in the recovery. The floods are starting to recede in the Houston area, but are still swamping cities elsewhere.

It's been a week since Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Corpus Christi. Quickly downgraded to a tropical storm, Harvey swamped Houston, then swept east to Beaumont, Port Arthur and Vidor (VY'-dur). Thousands of people have been evacuated to shelters.

Abbott says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is prepared to help, especially those without flood insurance.

He says it's important for Texas to return to normal as soon as possible.


7:40 a.m.

Houston's mayor says the city needs more high-water vehicles and other equipment for first responders as search efforts expand amid receding floodwaters in the nation's fourth-largest city.

Mayor Sylvester Turner told "CBS This Morning" for a segment broadcast Friday that the city also needs the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide more workers to complete and process applications from thousands who need aid.

He says people who suffered through Harvey's floods expect emergency management officials to work "with the greatest degree of urgency."

Turner says he's asking FEMA to provide a preliminary financial aid package of $75 million for debris removal alone.

He adds that a year from now, Houston will be seen as "shining star" for how a major U.S. city responds to a crippling natural disaster.


7:30 a.m.

The Navy has rescued 14 people and four dogs from a Texas shelter as floodwaters approached.

Video released by the Navy shows the seven adults, seven children and the animals crowded inside a Sea Hawk helicopter Thursday as they were flown from an elementary school in the town of Vidor to safety in nearby Beaumont.

The rescue was performed by a Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron.

The rescue was a first for Aircrewman 2nd Class Jansen Schamp, who said in a news release that while it wasn't exactly what he had imagined, it will be one of his "most memorable experiences."

The military is lending a hand to federal, state and local authorities in Harvey relief efforts.


1 a.m.

As floodwaters recede, Houston officials have started turning their attention to finding temporary housing for those in shelters and getting enough gasoline for people to fill up cars.

Authorities on Thursday increased the toll of Harvey-related deaths to 39, and the Texas Department of Public Safety said more than 37,000 homes were heavily damaged and nearly 7,000 were destroyed.

About 325,000 people has already sought federal emergency aid, and FEMA officials said more than $57 million in individual assistance has been paid out thus far.

The greatest threat of damage shifted in recent days to a region near the Texas-Louisiana line. The city of Beaumont, Texas, lost water service when its main pump station was overwhelmed by the swollen Neches River.


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