CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - Tropical Storm Harvey slammed Houston with devastating floods pouring into the nation's fourth-largest city, dropping nearly 24" across the Houston-area. On Sunday, rising water sent thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground. Rescuers stepped into high gear to assist with more than 2,000 constant calls for help. Tropical Storm Harvey dropped as much as 24" of rainfall across this area.
Hundreds of people across the Houston area are trapped in floodwaters, with Texans helping their neighbors with boat rescues. Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center is now open for flood victims. More rounds of heavy rain until potentially Thursday or Friday when the system is slated to leave the Houston area.
All commercial flight operations at Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports have ceased until further notice with no flights in and out. Roadways into and out of the airports are closed with Bush Airport affected by flooding.
All drinking water is now safe in the Houston-area and the Woodlands despite rumors.
"Our partners at the federal level have stood ready to answer the call for help from Texas, and I am thankful for their assistance as we continue to assess the situation in expanded areas across our state," said Governor Abbott. "Many parts of Eastern Texas, especially in and around Houston, are experiencing historic flooding causing the need to grow for additional resources that will allow us to answer the call for help from our fellow Texans. I thank those at FEMA for their attention to the severity of the situation in Texas and the people of this great state for coming together in this time of need."
"These communities have suffered a great deal because of this catastrophic storm, but Texans are resilient by nature and will make it through this tough time," said Gov. Abbott. "Resources are being made available to these counties to help Texans get their lives back on track. The state will continue to do everything in its power to engage in the recovery effort and assist those in need of relief."
The White Houston says President Donald Trump will travel to Texas on Tuesday.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is defending his decision not to ask residents to evacuate before the heavy rain from Tropical Storm Harvey swamped roads and neighborhoods across the nation's fourth-largest city.
Turner says at a news conference Sunday that there was no way to pinpoint which neighborhoods would be worst hit. He says every neighborhood has received at least some flooding.
He says, "If you think the situation right now is bad and you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare."
Turner asked people to stay in their homes and not drive if at all possible. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena says authorities have made more than 250 vehicle rescues in the storm.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says emergency personnel have responded to more than 2,000 calls to 911 for rescues in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He said priority was being given to life-threatening calls.
Turner also said at a news conference Sunday that he has ordered the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center opened as a shelter as floodwaters inundated much of the city.
Turner also urged people not to drive, as numerous streets and roadways in Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, were flooded Sunday.
The George R. Brown Convention Center has 1.8 million square feet of space.
Harris County sheriff's spokesman Jason Spencer says flooding throughout the county that includes Houston and the region is so widespread that it's "difficult to pinpoint the worst area."
He says authorities are prioritizing hundreds of phones calls for help to ensure life-and-death situations "are at the top of the list."
"It's heartbreaking," he says.
Spencer says the department has high-water vehicles and airboats but "certainly not enough." He says officials are encouraged that rescue teams from the National Guard and state agencies have also been deployed.
Flooding in some parts of the county that includes the city of Houston is so bad that residents are being urged to seek refuge on their roofs.
Harris County Flood Control District official Jeff Lindner says people inundated by rising waters shouldn't crawl into attics of their homes but should get on top of them.
He says rainfall of more than 4 inches per hour has sent water higher than in recent Houston floods side and are exceeding levels seen in Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001.
Lindner says areas south of the city appear hard-hit and some flooding is reported in downtown Houston and in the Texas Medical Center, which was devastated in Allison.
He calls Harvey "a different animal" from Allison and a "historic situation."
He says he's most amazed that he's getting reports "of water into second-story of apartments and homes." Considering Houston's flat terrain, "it's very rare to get that depth of water."