Tropical Storm Harvey has drifted back into the Gulf of Mexico after crippling Houston and is poised regain strength before crashing ashore again, this time on the Texas-Louisiana border.
Harvey drenched Houston, the fourth-largest U.S. city, with as much as 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain.
More than 30,000 people will need shelter as a result of the storm, according to a government estimate.
The downpours are forecast to last through the week and an additional 15 to 25 inches could fall, the National Hurricane Center said in a 7 a.m. advisory.
Heavy rain could spread to the Texas hill country and Louisiana, including New Orleans.
“My biggest concern right now is some places that have been dry for a while will get renewed rains,” said Paul Walker, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
Harvey is “going to be over the Gulf for 48 hours; I don’t think it becomes a hurricane” again.
While Houston has battled some of the nation’s worst deluges, elected officials, meteorologists and emergency managers say it’s never faced anything like the current floods, which may worsen as the rains continue.
Volunteers joined efforts by emergency teams Sunday night, while thousands of people fled to rooftops and higher ground to avoid the aftermath of the storm, which has so far been blamed for at least two deaths, according to the Associated Press.
About one quarter of oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and more than 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity has been shuttered.
Crops, livestock and drinking water are also under threat and rail shipments near Houston have been delayed.
Harvey will likely come ashore a second time near Sabine Pass, where Cheniere Energy Inc. has a liquefied natural gas export terminal.
So far there are no major impacts or interruptions, Cheniere said in a statement.
Gasoline futures on Monday surged to the highest in two years. If the storm does significant damage to the refineries in the region, the effects could ripple to other parts of the country that rely heavily on the Gulf Coast for fuel supplies.
Electricity service was cut to about 267,150 customers in Texas as of 7 a.m. local time, according to a tally of utility blackout reports by Bloomberg.
Severe flooding was hampering the ability of crews to assess damage and restore service in certain areas, the Washington-based Edison Electric Institute said.
A decrease in electricity demand could impact natural gas prices.
The rain is also wreaking havoc on the largest U.S. cotton producer, hitting Texas at a time when many farmers are storing excess supplies on fields following a bumper harvest.
Ports at the Texas Gulf account for about 24 percent of U.S. wheat exports, as well as 3 percent of corn shipments and 2 percent of soybeans, according to the Soy Transportation Coalition, citing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The threat to shipments of corn and soybeans, the top U.S. crops, comes from Harvey’s potential impact in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.
The region handles about 60 percent of the country’s soybean exports and 59 percent of corn shipments, Mike Steenhoek, executive director for the group, said Thursday in an email.
In the end, Harvey could end up costing $30 billion, according to Enki Research’s Chuck Watson.
More than two-thirds of the losses will be uninsured, he said.
- President Trump has declared region a major disaster
- As many as 450,000 may file for aid: Brock Long, Federal Emergency Management administrator
- Airlines canceled almost 1,848 flights Sunday at airports in Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas, and another 1,652 were scrubbed for Monday: FlightAware, an airline-tracking service
With assistance by Elizabeth Wasserman
By Bloomberg – https://bloom.bg/2iCKg8T