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2017-08-31

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At sea:A home surrounded by flood waters in Houston; and, right, the Interstate 10 highway, which was closed due to flooding.APDavid J. Phillip  

After pouring record rains on Texas, Tropical Storm Harvey made a second landfall on Wednesday to strike Louisiana, a State that still bears deep scars from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

The second hit comes five days after the monster storm slammed onshore as a Category Four hurricane, pummelling the U.S. Gulf coast with torrential rains that turned neighbourhoods into lakes in America’s fourth largest city, Houston.

Harvey made its second landfall just west of the town of Cameron, the National Hurricane Center said, with “flooding rains” drenching parts of southeastern Texas and neighbouring southwestern Louisiana.

Louisiana residents braced for Harvey’s ferocious maximum sustained winds nearing 45 miles (72 km) per hour, with forecasters predicting another five to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) of rain could pour on the region.

They expected Harvey will gradually weaken to a tropical depression by Wednesday night, meaning maximum sustained winds should slow. But low-lying New Orleans was still girding for the storm, just a day after the 12-year anniversary of Katrina, which ravaged the vulnerable city famous for its jazz music and cuisine.

The New Orleans branch of the National Weather Service said a heavy rain threat remained over southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi through Thursday, when relatively drier weather is finally slated to arrive. One night prior to the second landfall, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu tweeted to “remind #NOLA that we are not yet in the clear”, urging residents to “remain vigilant and cautious”.

In Texas emergency crews were still struggling to reach hundreds of stranded people in a massive round-the-clock rescue operation — but the National Weather Service tweeted that weather conditions there were to at last improve. The storm had transformed roads into rivers in America’s fourth-largest city, driving more than 8,000 people into emergency shelters.

Houstonians woke up on Wednesday from a night-time curfew declared by Mayor Sylvester Turner aimed at aiding search efforts and thwarting potential looting in the flood-ravaged city. U.S. media reports indicated the death toll could have risen to 30, and authorities feared confirming more once the worst had past and search teams could again travel roads.

Six million impacted

The National Weather Service said over six million Texans have been impacted by 30 inches or more of rain since Friday.

President Donald Trump toured the Harvey disaster zone in Texas on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service tweeted that Harvey appears to have broken a U.S. record for most rain from a single tropical cyclone, with nearly 52 inches (132 cm) recorded in the town of Cedar Bayou.

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