Storm Harvey death toll mounts as flooding hits Texas, with warnings of worse weather to come

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The death toll due to flooding in Texas continues to climb after the fiercest hurricane in 13 years hit the United States.

Authorities have warned that the worst weather from tropical storm Harvey might be yet to come.

Officials said yesterday that at least nine people appear to have died as a result of the storm, although the exact number of fatalities is unclear.

The death toll includes six people in Harris County, home to Houston; one person in Rockport, near where Harvey made landfall; and another person in La Marque, near Galveston.

A further six people are feared drowned today when a van sank into bayou east of Houston.

The adverse weather, saw more than 30 inches of rain fall in some places. Another 24 inches is still expected.

A resident wades through flood waters from tropical storm Harvey (Reuters)

Most of the city has been paralysed by the natural disaster which has generated an amount of rain that would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years.

Virginia Saldivar of Houston said she presumes six members of her family, including four of her grandchildren, have died after their van sank into Greens Bayou in the east of the city.

Houses and cars are seen partially submerged by flood waters in east Houston (Reuters)

She said her brother-in-law, Samuel Saldivar, was driving the van on Sunday, trying to get his parents and her four grandchildren to safety.

He was crossing a bridge when a strong current in the floodwaters took the van, and it pitched forwards over the bridge into a bayou.

People are rescued from a flooded neighborhood on a hovercraft (Getty)

Mr Saldivar was able to climb out of a window and urged the children, siblings aged six to 16, to escape through the back door, but they could not.

Virginia Saldivar said: “I’m just hoping we find the bodies.”

Residents wade out of the flood in east Houston

Houston emergency officials have not yet confirmed the deaths.

Donald Trump tweeted yesterday: “HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible.Thanks!”

He is expected to pay a visit to the state today.

A grim-faced girl sits on her father’s shoulder during the evacuation of flooded Houston (Getty)

He is expected to visit two Texas cities for updates; Corpus Christi, where they will receive a briefing on relief efforts by local leaders and relief organisations, and then Austin for a tour of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Operations Centre.

The confirmed deaths include a woman killed on Monday in the town of Porter, north east of Houston, when a large oak tree dislodged by heavy rains toppled onto her trailer home.

The disaster unfolded on an epic scale in one of America’s most sprawling metropolitan centres.

The Houston metro area covers about 10,000 square miles, and is crisscrossed by about 1,700 miles of channels, creeks and bayous that drain into the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles to the south east.

The storm is generating an amount of rain that would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years, said Edmond Russo, a deputy district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, which was concerned that floodwater would spill around a pair of 70-year-old reservoir dams that protect central Houston.

People make their way to safety in the flood (Getty)

The flooding was so widespread that the levels of city waterways have equalled or surpassed those of Tropical Storm Allison from 2001, and no major highway has been spared some overflow.

The city’s normally bustling business district was virtually deserted on Monday, with emergency vehicles making up most of the traffic as rescuers continued plucking people from the floodwaters.

A family evades the floodwater on board a small speedboat (Getty)

Mayor Sylvester Turner put the number rescued by police at more than 3,000.

The Coast Guard said it had also rescued more than 3,000 by boat and air and was taking more than 1,000 calls her hour.

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