Nearly 6,000 Inmates Evacuated From Texas Prisons NBC News Five Texas prisons have evacuated nearly 6,000 inmates since Saturday due to catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.At approximately midnight on Tuesday in Fort Bend County, 1,400 inmates at the Jester 3 and Carol S. Vance prison units began boarding buses to be moved out of affected areas. They will be relocated to other Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Robert Hurst, a TDCJ spokesman told NBC News. Fort Bend County is located just southwest of Houston.Those inmates join an estimated 4,500 others who were evacuated on Saturday from Terrell, Stringfellow and Ramsey prison units in Brazoria County, which is located south of Houston along the Texas coast.Officials began the evacuations because the five prisons are at risk of flooding due to their proximity to the rising Brazos River, according to the Facebook post.As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, it was not immediately clear if the Jester 3 and Carol S. Vance units had finished being evacuated.”We’re moving them to other facilities where there is not any risk,” Hurst said. „At this time there have been no complications and things are going smoothly.”Hurst said there have been no issues with overcrowding as the inmates are moved from areas inundated with rain from Harvey to secure locations.”We are making sure everybody is safe and that it’s a secure operation. We’re not taking any risk with what we’re having to do but at this time things are going smoothly,” Hurst said.Hurst said the inmates are being transferred to the TDCJ facilities aboard buses used for standard prison situations. The inmates are accompanied by correctional officers during the transport, the TDCJ said on Facebook.Related: Harvey, Already a ‘Landmark Event,’ Threatens Round TwoBecause of the historic flooding, which has killed at least four people so far and left nearly 300,000 without power, it is not clear when the inmates will be returned to their facilities.”We’ve got to wait for the storm to pass and wait for other situations to resolve themselves before we look into that,” Hurst said.On Tuesday, Harris County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that their jail hadn’t been evacuated. Harris County, which encompasses Houston, has seen some of the most significant flooding from Harvey.The sheriff’s office said that inmates had access to phones in order to check on loved ones.
HOUSTON (AP) — With its flood defenses strained, the crippled city of Houston anxiously watched dams and levees Tuesday to see if they would hold until the rain stops, and meteorologists offered the first reason for hope — a forecast with less than an inch of rain and even a chance for sunshine.The human toll continued to mount, both in deaths and in the ever-swelling number of scared people made homeless by the catastrophic storm that is now the heaviest tropical downpour in U.S. history.The city’s largest shelter was overflowing when the mayor announced plans to create space for thousands of extra people by opening two and possibly three more mega-shelters.”We are not turning anyone away. But it does mean we need to expand our capabilities and our capacity,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. „Relief is coming.”The rescues went on. Federal and local agencies said they had lifted more than 13,000 people out of the floodwaters in the Houston area and surrounding cities and counties.Louisiana’s governor offered to take in Harvey victims from Texas, and televangelist Joel Osteen opened his Houston megachurch, a 16,000-seat former arena, after critics blasted him on social media for not acting to help families displaced by the storm.Meteorologists said the sprawling city would soon get a chance to dry out.When Harvey returns to land Wednesday, „it’s the end of the beginning,” National Hurricane Center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said.Harvey will spend much of Wednesday dropping rain on Louisiana before moving on to Arkansas, Tennessee and parts of Missouri, which could also see flooding.But Feltgen cautioned: „We’re not done with this. There’s still an awful lot of real estate and a lot of people who are going to feel the impacts of the storm.”The National Weather Service predicted less of an inch of rain for Houston on Wednesday and only a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for Thursday. Friday’s forecast called for mostly sunny skies with a high near 94.In all, more than 17,000 people have sought refuge in Texas shelters, and that number seemed certain to increase, the American Red Cross said.The city’s largest shelter, the George R. Brown Convention Center, held more than 9,000 people, almost twice the number officials originally planned to house there. The crowds included many from outside Houston.By the end of the day, the Toyota Center, home of the NBA’s Rockets, had begun accepting people who could not find space at the convention center.Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he expected Texas officials to decide within 48 hours whether to accept his offer, which comes as Louisiana deals with its own flooding. About 500 people were evacuated from flooded neighborhoods in southwest Louisiana, Edwards said.The city has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for more supplies, including cots and food, for an additional 10,000 people, said the mayor, who hoped to get the supplies no later than Wednesday.In an apparent response to scattered reports of looting, the mayor also imposed a curfew. Police Chief Art Acevedo said violators would be questioned, searched and arrested.Four days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a hurricane, authorities and family members have reported more than a dozen deaths from Harvey. They include a woman killed when heavy rain sent a large oak tree crashing onto her trailer and another woman who apparently drowned after her vehicle was swept off a bridge.Houston police confirmed that a 60-year-old officer drowned in his patrol car after he became trapped in high water while driving to work. Sgt. Steve Perez had been with the force for 34 years.Six members of a family were feared dead after their van sank into Greens Bayou in East Houston. A Houston hotel said one of its employees disappeared while helping about 100 guests and workers evacuate the building.Authorities acknowledge that fatalities from Harvey could soar once the floodwaters start to recede from one of America’s largest metropolitan centers.A pair of 70-year-old reservoir dams that protect downtown Houston and a levee in a suburban subdivision began overflowing Tuesday, adding to the rising floodwaters.Engineers began releasing water from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs Monday to ease the strain on the dams. But the releases were not enough to relieve the pressure after the relentless downpours, Army Corps of Engineers officials said. Both reservoirs are at record highs.The release of the water means that more homes and streets will flood, and some homes will be inundated for up to a month, said Jeff Linder of the Harris County Flood Control District.Brazoria County authorities posted a message on Twitter warning that the levee at Columbia Lakes south of Houston had been breached and telling people to „GET OUT NOW!!” Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said residents were warned that the levee would be overtopped at some point, and a mandatory evacuation order was given Sunday.The levee was later fortified, but officials said they did not know how long the work would hold.Officials in Houston were also keeping an eye on infrastructure such as bridges, roads and pipelines that are in the path of the floodwaters.Water in the Houston Ship Channel, one of the nation’s busiest waterways, which serves the Port of Houston and Houston’s petrochemical complex, is at levels never seen before, Linder said.The San Jacinto River, which empties into the channel, has pipelines and roads and bridges not designed for the current deluge, Linder said, and the chance of infrastructure failures will increase the „longer we keep the water in place.”Among the worries is debris coming down the river and crashing into structures and the possibility that pipelines in the riverbed will be scoured by swift currents. In 1994, a pipeline ruptured on the river near Interstate 10 and caught fire.During a visit to the storm zone, President Donald Trump kept his distance from the epicenter of the damage in Houston to avoid disrupting recovery operations. But he planned to return to the region Saturday to meet with some of the victims, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.After five consecutive days of rain, Harvey set a new continental U.S. record for rainfall for a tropical system.The rains in Cedar Bayou, near Mont Belvieu, Texas, totaled 51.88 inches (1.32 meters) as of Tuesday afternoon. That’s a record for both Texas and the continental United States, but it does not quite surpass the 52 inches (1.33 meters) from Tropical Cyclone Hiki in Kauai, Hawaii, in 1950, before Hawaii became a state.The previous record was 48 inches (1.22 meters) set in 1978 in Medina, Texas, by Tropical Storm Amelia. A weather station southeast of Houston reported 49.32 inches (1.25 meters) of rain.Before it breaks up, Harvey could creep as far east as Mississippi by Thursday, meaning New Orleans, where Hurricane Katrina unleashed its full wrath in 2005, is in Harvey’s path. Foreboding images of Harvey lit up weather radar screens on the 12th anniversary of the day Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish.The disaster is unfolding on an epic scale, with the nation’s fourth-largest city mostly paralyzed by the storm that arrived as a Category 4 hurricane and then parked over the Gulf Coast. The Houston metro area covers about 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometers), an area slightly bigger than New Jersey._Associated Press writers Frank Bajak and Michael Graczyk in Houston, Diana Heidgerd and David Warren in Dallas, Seth Borenstein in Washington and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report._Sign up for AP’s daily newsletter showcasing our best all-formats reporting on Harvey and its aftermath: http://apne.ws/ahYQGtb .
Macau weather agency under investigation for delayed typhoon warning AFP 22 hours agoMacau (AFP) – Macau graft busters have begun a probe into the city’s weather bureau over its handling of deadly Severe Typhoon Hato, amid reports that deference to the island’s gaming industry was behind delays to its storm warnings.The destruction wrought by the typhoon, which killed at least 10 people, prompted the resignation of Macau’s weather chief, an apology from the city’s leader and the deployment of the People’s Liberation Army Macau garrison to help in relief efforts.Reports said consideration for the city’s gambling industry played a role in delaying the storm warning over Hato, which hit the city last Wednesday and was believed to be the strongest storm in 53 years.Macau’s Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) on Monday said they received a „large volume of complaints” over the Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau’s typhoon warning.The investigation into the bureau centres on its „typhoon warning process and its internal management” along with its former head, Fong Soi-kun, who resigned last Thursday, the CCAC statement said.It also added that it received similar complaints last year during Typhoon Nida, when the third highest typhoon warning T8, which mandates a shutdown of the city, was not raised.”There can be no doubt the ‘casino factor’ plays into the thinking of those charged with making storm signal decisions,” an unnamed source told the South China Morning Post, adding that once a T8 is raised, casinos must pay all staff overtime.The newspaper said the Macau T8 signal was raised around nine hours after Hong Kong issued the same warning, with residents complaining that the timing of the notice came just as people were travelling to work.Macau police also arrested an elderly man and his sister for spreading false information online, saying that bodies were found in a flooded car park in one of the worst hit areas, the Post reported Tuesday.Hato ripped through the gambling hub Wednesday, plunging casinos into darkness and causing destructive floods.A further eight people are known to have died from Typhoon Hato in the neighbouring mainland Chinese province of Guangdong.Streets appeared cleaner after local residents of all ages and around 1,000 troops from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Macau garrison worked to clear piles of debris blocking the streets.Summer is typhoon season for the region including Hong Kong, which can experience storms of such severity that the entire city shuts down.
Twitter Reacts to Viral Photo Of Dog Carrying Food Bag In Harvey Hit TexasShreesha Ghosh •A photo of a dog carrying a bag of food on a street in the northwest part of Corpus Christi, after Hurricane Harvey triggered havoc in Texas over the weekend, has gone viral since it was posted on Facebook on Saturday.The photo was shared by a Facebook user, Tiele Dockens. She wrote in the caption: „This dog is walking around Sinton TX carrying a entire bag of dog food with him. LOL #refugee.(sic)” Related SearchesDog Carrying Bag Of FoodOtis Dog FoodWhen Will Harvey Hit TexasDockens, cleared in her Facebook post, that the dog was not a stray. The Facebook image was shared over 30,000 times at the time of publishing this story.As the picture went viral on Twitter, „#refugeedog” started trending on the microblogging site. Some of the users, in their posts , called the dog a „CanineAidWorker,” while some said he was a „looter.” Most users hailed him as a hero and praised his actions.The German shepherd from Sinton, Texas, Otis, was said to have accidentally got loose on Friday from his porch prompting his 65-year-old owner Salvador Segovia to searched him on the streets, the Houston Chronicle reported. „I kept yelling his name and yelling his name and he wasn’t around,” Segovia told the Chronicle.Segovia said Otis had been found and brought back home safe. „Otis is an all around special dog,” he said. „He’s been instrumental in helping comfort Carter following numerous hospital visits for seizures and asthma. Otis is also a local celebrity,” he added.”Otis can go to Dairy Queen (a fast food store in Texas) and he can get a hamburger. He’s the only dog allowed to lie down in front of the county court house,” the Chronicle quoted Segovia as saying. „He also goes to H.E.B. (a grocery store). He’s not a stray. He’s a good dog.”Otis is around six years old, Segovia told the Washington Post. He said he adopted the dog when he was just a puppy. Recalling how he adopted Otis, he said one day he saw a man driving near their residence in Texas and had the dog and was planning to abandon it when Segovia decided to adopt the dog. „I said, ‘No, no, no, leave him here, we’ll keep him,” he said. „He left the dog here, and it became my grandson’s dog.”While the dog and his owner and Dockens’ family were all safe, the city of Sinton and nearby Papalote, where Dockens resides, faced power outage and was without water till Saturday evening. „People are holding up good,” Dockens told the Huffington Post, adding the rescue teams have been working to restore power and residents were helping to clear the streets after the storm.