HOUSTON, Texas — Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters he is “really worried about how many bodies we will find” after the flood waters finally recede from the city’s roadways and homes.
Texas officials reported that at least eight people died from the massive storm and rain event that occupied the state since Friday afternoon. Six people have died in Harris County, one in Rockport, and another in La Marque, the San Antonio Express-News reported on Monday.
That number may rise quickly as the newspaper tweeted a report that a family of six is feared to have died after their van became swept away in Houston flood waters.
Report: Family of 6 feared dead after van swept away in Houston flood waters https://t.co/BU4aRNjXDH
— mySA (@mySA) August 28, 2017
The nation’s fourth largest city is experiencing catastrophic flooding for more than two days–and the worst may be yet to come. National Weather Service officials reported that some parts of Texas and the Houston area have already received more than 40 inches of rain since Hurricane Harvey came ashore Friday night. Another 15 to 25 inches is predicted as Harvey has given no indication he is ready to leave the Lone Star State.
Many of the roadways in Harris County, which covers 1,800 square miles, have become rivers in the wake of the devastating rains.
In addition to street flooding, residents must also now be concerned about bayous, creeks, and other waterways exceeding their banks as reservoirs designed to control flooding are about to reach capacity. The Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water on Sunday in an attempt to slow the rising water levels, but that appears to only be a temporary solution.
Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert told ABC13, “Nobody is alive has seen a flood like this.”
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) August 28, 2017
The judge, who heads Fort Bend County’s Emergency Management Office, ordered the mandatory evacuation of 20 percent of his county’s residents on Monday. As the day grew, so did the list of neighborhoods impacted by the mandatory orders and predicted flooding.
During a press conference late Sunday night, Hebert called this a 800 to 900-year flood event. The Brazos River, which cuts through his county, is expected to rise two feet higher than it did during the devastating 2016 Memorial Day flood. The river is expected to set a record, rising 56.1 feet, officials reported.