Weakened but not finished, Harvey is expected to dump even more rain onto Louisiana. The storm has claimed the lives of 17 people and caused tens of billions of dollars of damage.
Tropical storm Harvey made landfall in the state of Louisiana early Wednesday morning, five days after devastating Texas as a Category 4 hurricane.
Since delivering catastrophic flooding to Houston and the surrounding area, Harvey returned to the Gulf of Mexico before meandering back for a second round and making a second landfall west of Cameron, Louisiana.
Residents of western Louisiana were expecting sustained winds of almost 45 miles per hour (72 kilometers per hour) and a further 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain, on top of the 17 inches parts had already received. Forecasters were hoping Harvey would gradually weaken to a tropical depression – which would mean sustained winds below 39 miles per hour – by Wednesday night.
“We aren’t going to be dealing with it for too much longer. It’s going to pick up the pace and get out of here,” said Donald Jones, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
By sunrise, damage reports in Louisiana were limited. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso told the Associated Press that he was still cautious, but things were “looking much better.” The main rains continued to stay west of Louisiana, with Lake Charles recording just 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain overnight. The Sheriff’s department said it had rescued a few people on the far western edge of the parish, where rainfall was heavier.
Cameron Parish Administrator Ryan Bourriaque told AP that storm surges appeared to have caused little damage along Louisiana’s southwestern coast and that officials were likely to consider lifting a mandatory evacuation order for the southern end of the parish.
Residents of low-lying New Orleans were reminded of the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago. Authorities were warning of flood dangers.
The New Orleans branch of the National Weather Service warned of heavy rains over southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi until Thursday.
One night prior to the second landfall, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu warned on Twitter “we are not yet in the clear,” urging residents to “remain vigilant and cautious.”
After dumping rain on Louisiana the storm is forecast to head north to Arkansas, Tennessee and parts of Missouri.
The storm has so far claimed the lives of at least 17 people, and forced tens of thousands people out of their homes. The people of Houston spent Tuesday night in lockdown as Mayor Sylvester Turner declared a curfew to aid search efforts and thwarting looters.
Adding to their woes on Tuesday, two 70-year-old reservoir dams that protect downtown Houston and a levee in a suburban subdivision began overflowing. Engineers began releasing water to ease the strain on dams but their efforts were not enough.
The storm has so far caused damage in the tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the costliest US natural disasters.
US President Donald Trump visited Texas on Tuesday to survey damage. Trump said he was pleased with authorities’ response, but said it was too soon to celebrate.
“We won’t say congratulations,” he said. “We don’t want to do that…We’ll congratulate each other when it’s all finished.”
Germany has offered all possible assistance to the United States in dealing with the natural calamity. In a letter to President Trump, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote that Germany was “ready to contribute to relief efforts.”
Threat of tornadoes
As Harvey made landfall again, forecasters warned of possible tornadoes across a large part of the South.
The national Storm Prediction Center said a few tornadoes would likely develop in northeast Louisiana and across southern and central portions of Mississippi.
aw/ng (AFP, AP, Reuters)