By JUSTICE CAMPBELL
Texas and Louisiana were impacted by Hurricane Harvey on Tuesday, while for the first time in history a reservoir west of downtown Houston spilled over due to record-shattering rainfall. As much as 30 percent of the country’s 1,777 square miles was underwater on Tuesday, states a flood official in Harris County.
Storm clouds continued a drenching onslaught as President Trump arrived in Texas on Tuesday to survey the ongoing devastation. The storm brought with it more than three feet of rain in some areas. Trump pledged there would be swift action by the federal government to provide relief to states affected by Harvey, and visited the state as he said he would.
Authorities said the storm had hit close to home for the first responders as Houston officials struggled to determine the extent of the tragedy. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Tuesday that Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, a veteran officer, drowned Sunday while driving on duty in the floodwater. Acevedo said on Tuesday afternoon, “He laid down his life. He was a sweet, gentle public servant.” Perez’s wife asked him not to go in because conditions were so bad, but Perez insisted “because he has that in his DNA,” Perez’s wife stated.
Amid Harvey’s flooding, police officers in the city rescued more than 3,500 people so far states Acevedo. As Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said officials are “still trying to assess” how many people are missing. The storm’s full impact still remains unclear.
At least 16 people appear to have died as a result of the storm, including Perez, officials said. This number could rise as authorities pursue reports of people apparently lost in the torrential downpours unleashed by Harvey since Friday.
Of those confirmed dead as of Tuesday, at least eight were in Harris County. Some of the other people were killed in the South Texas town of Rockport, near where Harvey made landfall; and in Porter, a town north of Houston. A woman in her 60s was napping when a large oak tree landed on her mobile home in Porter.
Authorities warned that anyone who ignores mandatory evacuation orders will not be aided by first responders when the waters rise. They issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders for parts of that area. However many of the affected residents saw no way out when all the main thoroughfares were already closed because of high water.
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