CONTINUING COVERAGE OF HURRICANE HARVEYROCKPORT, Tex. (Heartland Newsfeed/UPI) — Texas state officials confirmed the first fatality related to Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore in the Lone Star State late Friday night with 130 MPH wind speeds and torrential rainfall. Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm as the first storm of such intensity since 2004 and the strongest storm to hit Texas in over five decades since Hurricane Ike, which caused $30 billion in damage in the states of Texas and Louisiana. Rockport mayor Charles J. Wax confirmed to the Washington Post that at least one person died, but cautioned that emergency services were still not able to fully assess the damage and that there could be more. City Manager Kevin Carruth told Corpus Christi station KIII at least 10 people were treated for injuries related to the Hurricane Harvey after the eye of the storm passed through the city Friday night. Carruth also noted that the roof of a single-storm senior housing development collapsed, where several people were taken to a local jail for assessment and treatment, and that the Aransas County Courthouse and historic downtown area suffered heavy damages. Rockport Fire Chief Steve Sims told ABC News early Saturday 22 firefighters remained hunkered down at the local fire station. The department had about 25 to 30 pending calls Saturday, but firefighters were unable to respond until weather conditions improved. “We’re unable to get out on the streets yet,” Sims said. “As soon as the weather permits us, the winds get anywhere reasonable. We have been working on lists trying to prioritize the calls that we have waiting.” Once the imminent threat posed by wind abates, officials said potentially deadly flooding will follow. Some rivers in the area are expected to crest 10 to 20 feet above flood level. Communities across south Texas were expected to experience 15 to 30 inches of rain, with isolated areas seeing as much as 40 inches. In Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, waves of torrential rain were reported and a tornado touched down in a suburban neighborhood. Harvey also left about 20,000 cruise ship passengers stranded after the Port of Galveston closed about noon Friday. Three Carnival cruises and one Royal Caribbean ship headed for shelter at Galveston Island were turned away. Port officials expect to know more about the ships after a conference call with the cruise companies at 11 a.m. and believe improved weather could permit an earlier return. “We have about 20,000 people on four cruise ships that are trying to enter the port,” Roger Quiroga, director of economic development and external relations for the Port of Galveston told The Daily News. “Depending on the weather, we may be able to bring some ships in on Sunday,” Peter Simons, interim director for the Port of Galveston, said. The Coast Guard also responded to vessels in distress near the Lydia Ann Channel near Port Aransas. A water boil notice for residents in Ingleside in San Patricio County was issued on at about 8:16 am urging residents to boil water for at least 2 minutes before using it to brush teeth, drink or cook with. Heavy winds caused property damage throughout the state, blowing down walls, roofs and other structures such as traffic lights. Reports of downed trees and power lines were also made in Rockport and Corpus Christi as more than 300,000 of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas were left without power along the Gulf Coast. President Donald Trump tweeted commending local officials for their work handling the hurricane while he was at Camp David on Saturday morning. “Closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey from Camp David,” he wrote. “We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Govs. working great together!” Written by Heartland Newsfeed editor-in-chief Jake Leonard in Nokomis, Ill. and UPI writers Daniel Uria and Eric DuVall.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.