Search goes on for Harvey survivors, new evacuations in Houston

ORANGE, Texas/HOUSTON (Reuters) - Rescuers searched painstakingly through flooded sections of southeastern Texas on Friday for people stranded by Hurricane Harvey's deluge as Houston's mayor warned residents of the city's west their homes may not dry out for weeks.

The storm, one of the costliest to hit the United States, has displaced more than 1 million people, with up to 50 feared dead from flooding that paralyzed Houston, swelled river levels to record highs and knocked out the drinking water supply in Beaumont, Texas, a city of some 120,000 people.

Though the sun was out in Houston on Friday and water levels have dropped in many areas, Mayor Sylvester Turner called for voluntary evacuations on the city's west side. He said neighborhoods there may remain flooded as the Army Corps of Engineers continues to release water into the adjacent Buffalo Bayou to prevent dam and levee failures.

RELATED: Texans being evacuated during Hurricane Harvey

20 PHOTOS
Texans being evacuated during Hurricane Harvey
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Texans being evacuated during Hurricane Harvey
People evacuate by dump truck from the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Dickinson, Texas August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Volunteers unload evacuee Taylor Mitchell from a rescue vehicle at the George R. Brown Convention Center after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain causing widespread flooding, in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 28, 2017. Picture taken August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
Men look for people wanting to be evacuated from the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Dickinson, Texas August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Evacuee Pete Quintana Jr. is wrapped in a blanket at the George R. Brown Convention Center after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain causing widespread flooding, in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 28, 2017. Picture taken August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
A man carries a child after being evacuated by dump truck from the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Dickinson, Texas August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
People are evacuated by a high water truck from the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Dickinson, Texas, U.S. August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
People are evacuated from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in a collector's vintage military truck belonging to a volunteer in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Evacuees are airlifted in a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter after flooding due to Hurricane Harvey inundated neighborhoods in Houston, Texas, August 27, 2017. Picture taken August 27, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
People are rescued from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in an armored police mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Sterling Broughton is moved from a rescue boat onto a kayak after flood waters from Hurricane Harvey rose in Dickenson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Texas National Guard soldiers aid residents in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 27, 2017 Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD/Texas Military Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Barb Davis, 74. is helped to dry land after being rescued from her flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey, on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: People are rescued from a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey, on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: People are rescued from a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey, on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: People are rescued from a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey, on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A boy and girl hug their grandmothers' dogs after being rescued from rising floodwaters due to Hurricane Harvey in Spring, Texas, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. A deluge of rain and rising floodwaters left�Houston�immersed and helpless,�crippling a global center of the oil industry and testing the economic resiliency of a state that's home to almost 1 in 12 U.S. workers. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rescuers help a woman from a flooded retirement home into a boat after Hurricane Harvey in Spring, Texas, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. A deluge of rain and rising floodwaters left�Houston�immersed and helpless,�crippling a global center of the oil industry and testing the economic resiliency of a state that's home to almost 1 in 12 U.S. workers. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: People wait for a ride to a shelter after being rescued from a flooded neighborhood when it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey, on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Dean Mize holds children as he and Jason Legnon use an airboat to rescue people from homes that are inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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About 80 miles (130 km) to the east, the Neches River, which flows into Beaumont and nearby Port Arthur, was forecast to crest on Friday.

"There still remain areas that are deadly dangerous," Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters. "The Neches River continues to rise. It is about 7 feet (2.1 meters) above the record and it will continue to remain at or be near that high for about the next week. This flooding poses an ongoing threat."

Rescue officials were still working to determine the scope of flooding, said Rodney Smith, deputy chief of the Cedar Hill, Texas, Fire Department.

Sam Dougharty, 36, was shocked when water began to flow in beneath his front door during Harvey's rains in Orange, Texas, earlier this week.

"We never had water here," he said. "This is family land. My aunt's owned it for 40 years and never had water here."

As the water rose, Dougharty, his wife, Lacey, and their three children fled to a relatives' house in Louisiana.

They returned on Friday to find their yard transformed into a thigh-high lake, the house smelling like raw sewage. A calf and a heifer from their herd of 15 were dead. The chickens were sagging on the top two roosts of their coop, staring at the water quietly.

Chemical maker Arkema SA said a fire started on Thursday in a truck storing chemicals at a flooded plant east of Houston had burned itself out by Friday, but that more blasts were likely in eight other trucks storing the same chemicals.

STORM IRMA BUILDS IN THE ATLANTIC

With three months remaining in the official Atlantic hurricane season, a new storm, Irma, had strengthened on Friday into a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, on Friday. It remained hundreds of miles from land but was forecast to possibly hit Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti by the middle of next week.

Harvey roared ashore a week ago as a Category 4 storm, the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century. It dumped unprecedented amounts of rain and left devastation across more than 300 miles (480 km) of the state's coast.

76 PHOTOS
Hurricane Harvey
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Hurricane Harvey
An aerial photo shows damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas, U.S., August 31, 2017. Photo taken August 31, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Houses are seen submerged in flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in Northwest Houston, Texas, U.S. August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
David Michaelis holds his 3-year-old grandson Teddy as he wades through flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Orange, Texas, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A man carries a dog from a rescue boat as it evacuates people from the rising waters of Buffalo Bayou following Hurricane Harvey in a neighborhood west of Houston, Texas, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Residents evacuate neighborhood left flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey in West Houston, Texas, U.S. August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
People carry their possessions from the rising waters of Buffalo Bayou following Hurricane Harvey in a neighborhood west of Houston, Texas, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
People wait to get into one of the few open grocery stores after Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
David Gonzalez comforts his wife Kathy after being rescued from their home flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey in Orange, Texas, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Residents talk as flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise in Orange, Texas, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A car gets towed while men walk in the flooded waters of Telephone Rd. in Houston Houston, Texas on August 30, 2017. Monster storm Harvey made landfall again Wednesday in Louisiana, evoking painful memories of Hurricane Katrina's deadly strike 12 years ago, as time was running out in Texas to find survivors in the raging floodwaters. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas B. Shea (Photo credit should read THOMAS B. SHEA/AFP/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 30: Friends reunite in the middle of a flooded intersection as water continues to rise in their neighborhood following Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi August 25, has dumped nearly 50 inches of rain in and around Houston. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Residents wait to be rescued from the flood waters of Tropical Storm Harvey in Beaumont Place, Houston, Texas, U.S., on August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Residents wade through flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Beaumont Place, Houston, Texas, U.S., on August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A woman carries her dog into a collector's vintage military truck to evacuate from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A rescue helicopter hovers in the background as an elderly woman and her poodle use an air mattress to float above flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey while waiting to be rescued from Scarsdale Boulevard in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Interstate highway 45 is submerged from the effects of Hurricane Harvey seen during widespread flooding in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Richard Carson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Craig "Cajun" Uggen, 57, nearly floods his truck as Hurricane Harvey comes ashore in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S. August 25, 2017. Minutes later, high winds blew off the camper carrying all of his belongings. REUTERS/Brian Thevenot TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Traffic lights lie on a street after being knocked down, as Hurricane Harvey approaches in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S. August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Local residents watch the storm in the dark after a citywide power failure as Hurricane Harvey hit Corpus Christi, Texas on August 25, 2017. Harvey on Friday further intensified into a dangerous category four storm, just hours before it was due to slam into the Texas coast, US meteorologists said. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: Waves pound the shore from approaching Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: Maria Jaramillo (C) and other guests of the TownPlace Suites hotel wait out Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a major hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TEXAS, Aug. 25, 2017 -- An employee holds a sign showing water has sold out in a chained market in Houston, the United States, Aug. 24, 2017. The populations in the southern part of Texas are preparing for significant impacts from Hurricane Harvey as it is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 Hurricane from the Gulf of Mexico on Friday. (Xinhua/Liu Liwei via Getty Images)
Bottles of water and other drinks sit in a nearly emptied shelf at a Kroger Co. grocery store in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. Hurricane Harvey, set to make landfall on the center of the Texas coast late Friday, is expected to hit a refinery-rich stretch of the Gulf Coast and U.S. drivers could soon see the impact at the gas pump. Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: A sign blows in the wind after being partially torn from its frame by winds from Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a major hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A man takes a selfie photograph on seawall by the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Harvey in Galveston, Texas, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey�strengthened as it headed toward landfall in Texas, forecast to become the worst storm to strike the region in more than a decade. The price of gasoline�rallied�as it threatened to wreak havoc on the heart of America's energy sector. Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: Fabian Fernando his daughter, Azalee Fernandez, Rosalind Gonzalez and Roland Gonzalez (L-R) wait out Hurricane Harvey at the TownePlace Suites hotel which they felt was safer than their homes on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a major hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: A road sign warns travelers of the the approaching Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: Lilyann Lewis packs pinky into the vehicle as her family packs up and evacuates their home before the approaching Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A hurricane warning sign is seen under storm clouds, above a highway approaching Victoria, Texas, U.S. August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: Cody Munds, Lee Martin and John Pezzi (L-R) fill sandbags as people prepare for approaching Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Bottles of water and other drinks sit in a nearly emptied shelf at a Kroger Co. grocery store in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. Hurricane Harvey, set to make landfall on the center of the Texas coast late Friday, is expected to hit a refinery-rich stretch of the Gulf Coast and U.S. drivers could soon see the impact at the gas pump. Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hurricane Harvey is seen in the Texas Gulf Coast, U.S., in this NOAA GOES satellite image on August 24, 2017. NOAA/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
Tropical Storm Harvey is seen approaching the Texas Gulf Coast, U.S., in this NOAA GOES East satellite image taken at 10:07 ET (14:07 GMT) August 24, 2017. NOAA/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A vehicle passes a hurricane warning sign under storm clouds as it heads south approaching Victoria, Texas, U.S. August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Tropical Storm Harvey is seen approaching the Texas Gulf Coast, U.S., in this NOAA GOES East satellite image taken at 10:07 ET (14:07 GMT) August 24, 2017. NOAA/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: Raul Barral and Carlos Guerra (L-R) walk through high wind and driving rain together before the arrival of Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The US flag lies tangled in power lines as strong winds from Hurricane Harvey hits Corpus Christi, Texas on August 25, 2017. Harvey on Friday further intensified into a dangerous category four storm, just hours before it was due to slam into the Texas coast, US meteorologists said. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: Amy Currin watches the weather news on her cell phone after the power went out at the TownePlace Suites hotel where she was taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey at a place she felt was safer than her home on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey has intensified into a hurricane and is aiming for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Some of the 35 T-45 jets arrive at Naval Air Station Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. Thirty-five Navy and Marines T-45s arrived at Naval Air Station Fort Worth from Kingsville as part of an evacuation in advance of Hurricane Harvey. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
A windblown seagull looks for food before the approaching Hurricane Harvey hits Corpus Christi, Texas on August 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey will soon hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying it's possible for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 25: An oil refinery is seen before the arrival of Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. As Hurricane Harvey comes ashore many of the countries oil refineries are in its path and have had to shut down. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Stewart Adams, of San Marcos, Texas, plays in the winds from Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S. August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A group of people race across the street as winds from Hurricane Harvey escalated in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S. August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Street signs lie on the ground after winds from Hurricane Harvey escalated in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S. August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - AUGUST 26: A street light is knocked off it's base by the winds of Hurricane Harvey on August 26, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hurricane Harvey had intensified into a hurricane and hit the Texas coast as damage is being assessed. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PORT LAVACA, TX - AUGUST 25: Waves crash against the coast as Hurricane Harvey intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico in Port Lavaca, TX on Friday, Aug 25, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Strong winds batter seaside houses before the approaching Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey will soon hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying it's possible for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Strong winds batter seaside houses before the approaching Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey will soon hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying it's possible for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Strong winds batter a house on Padre Island before the approaching Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey will soon hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying it is possible expect up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents board up the windows of a home ahead of Hurricane Harvey in Jamaica Beach, Texas, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey�strengthened as it headed toward landfall in Texas, forecast to become the worst storm to strike the region in more than a decade. The price of gasoline�rallied�as it threatened to wreak havoc on the heart of America's energy sector. Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A family stands outside their home the morning after their neighborhood was hit by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A man assesses damage to the First Baptist Church after it was hit by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Business owner and resident Carlos Lopez clears debris from outside his shop which was hit by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A McDonald's sign damaged by Hurricane Harvey is seen in Port Lavaca, Texas August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A collapsed overhead gantry lies across Interstate 37, blocking the highway due to damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christie, Texas, U.S., August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed?
A destoyed trailor at an RV Park after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer checks for survivors amongst destroyed houses after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A destroyed buildingand vehicles at Rockport Airport after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
ROCKPORT, TX - AUGUST 26: Lee Guerrero tries to kick open a door of an apartment after hearing his friends say they were hiding in the shower stall and were okay after Hurricane Harvey destroyed the apartment on August 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ROCKPORT, TX - AUGUST 26: Valerie Brown walks through a flooded area after leaving the apartment that she road out Hurricane Harvey in on August 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A Texas and US flag are seen as rain from Hurricane Henry falls on August 26, 2017 in Texas City, Texas. Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast late Friday, unleashing torrents of rain and packing powerful winds, the first major storm to hit the US mainland in 12 years. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
ROCKPORT, TX - AUGUST 26: A damaged building is seen after Hurricane Harvey passed through on August 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ROCKPORT, TX - AUGUST 26: Terry Smith stands in the apartment that had its ceiling collapse when Hurricane Harvey hit on August 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Ms. Smith said she has never been as terrified in her life as when the winds started roaring through town. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall by next Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ROCKPORT, TX - AUGUST 26: A Rockport firefighter goes door to door on a search and rescue mission as he looks for people that may need help after Hurricane Harvey passed through on August 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A fireman walks by a burnt out car that caught fire after Hurricane Harvey hit Corpus Christi, Texas is seen on August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying its possible for up to 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter hovers above the Houston skyline as sunlight breaks through storm clouds from Tropical Storm Harvey in Texas, U.S. August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A military helicopter and personnel rescue a stranded resident from floods caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in east Houston, Texas, U.S. August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A tattered U.S. flag damaged in Hurricane Harvey, flies in Conroe, Texas, U.S., August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ethan holds his 2-year-old daughter Zella as they walk through flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Iowa, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, U.S., on August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nancy McBride is carried out of her flooded home by volunteer Cody Collinsworth, after returning home for the first time since Harvey floodwaters arrived in Houston, Texas September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People line up at a Walmart store that reopened Friday after Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, U.S., September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Rescue personnel help Hersey Kirk into a restraint as a rescue helicopter hovers in the distance after she was rescued from her home flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey in Rose City, Texas, U.S. on August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Kent Kirk is lifted into a helicopter after being rescued from his home flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey in Rose City, Texas, U.S. on August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Evacuees who were rescued from the flood waters of Tropical Storm Harvey wait to board school buses bound for Louisiana in Vidor, Texas, U.S., on August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Submerged houses are seen by flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Rose City, Texas, U.S., on August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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The storm shut about a fourth of U.S. refinery capacity, much of which is clustered along the Gulf Coast, and caused gasoline prices to spike to a two-year high ahead of the long Labor Day holiday weekend.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has risen 17 cents since the storm hit, hitting $2.519 as of Friday morning, according to motorists group AAA.

Supply concerns prompted the U.S. Energy Department to authorize the release of up to 4.5 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Several East Coast refineries have run out of gasoline, raising fears that travelers will face fuel shortages during the three-day holiday.

In major Texas cities including Dallas, there were long lines at gas stations. Abbott said the state was taking steps to ensure adequate supplies, adding, "Don't worry. We will not run out of gasoline."

Harvey came on the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed about 1,800 around New Orleans. Then-U.S. President George W. Bush's administration was roundly criticized for its botched early response to the storm.

Signaling that he did not want to be seen as repeating those mistakes, President Donald Trump plans a second visit to the region on Saturday.

"The people of Texas and Louisiana were hit very hard by a historic flood and their response taught us all a lesson, a very, very powerful lesson," Trump said. "There was an outbreak of compassion only ... and it really inspired us as a nation."

Some 440,000 Texans have already applied for federal financial disaster assistance, and some $79 million has been approved so far, Abbott said.

Lawmakers will replenish a federal disaster relief fund to keep aid flowing, but full assistance will come from Congress in installments, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said.

"The cash drain is fast. And so we're going to have to do some quick responses," Ryan said in an interview with radio station WCLO in his hometown Janesville, Wisconsin.

Moody's Analytics estimated the economic cost from Harvey for southeastern Texas at $51 billion to $75 billion.

(Additional reporting by Richard Valdmanis, Ernest Scheyder, Ruthy Munoz, Peter Henderson and Andy Sullivan in Houston, Steve Holland in Washington, David Gaffen in New York, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Scott Malone and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis)

 

 

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