Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who represents a suburban Dallas district, told MSNBC this morning that east Texas and Louisiana are preparing for potentially catastrophic flooding after downgraded Hurricane Harvey deluged Houston with water up to shoulder-high in some places.
The National Weather Service said a flash-flood watch is in effect for Houston through Tuesday evening. “There is the potential for catastrophic flooding over the next several days as Tropical Storm Harvey moves inland and slowly over southeastern Texas,” NWS said. “Additional rainfall totals of 15-25 inches are likely with isolated amounts higher through mid next week.”
Through Sunday, affected areas of Texas had received more than 20 inches to more than 27 inches of rain.
“What lies ahead for everyone is to make sure that after the trauma of water that everybody has their tetanus shots, that they get they’re medicine, that we take care of children. Obviously when people get together we then — whether like it or not, we have diarrhea problems, we have food problems, we have needs of people, we are prepared for the this,” Sessions said. “I believe the problem is that people are having trouble getting out of Houston because of the bands of rain.”
People beyond Houston are “preparing themselves for what will be a big flood,” the congressman said.
“This obviously, we could get another as the meteorologist said, 10 inches of rain, that comes, but it’s going to come to east Texas and Louisiana and we offer our prayers to them,” he added.
Sessions encouraged the Trump administration to complete appointments to vacant federal government posts because “we need real live people who will be accountable and responsible for what happens for several years” and the Senate needs to stop “playing politics.”
Any aid package that’s delivered to the disaster area from Congress, he cautioned, needs to not be bloated with pork or else the conservative House Freedom Caucus will likely hold it up.
President Trump is scheduled to fly to Corpus Christi, Texas, on Tuesday. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Gov. Greg Abbott went to the city today to get briefed on Hurricane Harvey and survey storm damage.
Abbott told CBS on Sunday that “this appears to be either the worst or one of the worst floods Houston has ever had.”
“We’re measuring it not in inches, but in feet. As you probably have seen, there are countless water rescues. Our first and foremost focus at this particular time is saving lives. And so we’re working on as many water rescues as we possibly can and trying to find ways to get people out of harm’s way,” he said. “I saw one report that I cannot confirm that there may be as many as 10 million people under flash flood warnings who could be in harm’s way.”
Abbott expressed gratitude for the help offered by other states as far away as New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent the Air National Guard to assist in relief efforts.
“There will be enormous needs for sheltering of people. And so we appreciate all the help that is coming in,” the Texas governor said. “If people want to help out by doing things like donating, the best thing they can do is call 1-800-RED-CROSS or to go RedCross.org. But we’re working as we speak, and assembling all the shelters for the people who can go to them and who need them.”