Water rescues continue in flooded Texas, death toll at 31

HOUSTON — Quick facts:

  • Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas Friday night.
  • Since then, the hurricane has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but it continues to drop torrential rain on the region.
  • The Houston area has seen catastrophic flooding in the days since the storm made landfall.
  • More than 300,000 in shelters; FEMA anticipates 450,000+ victims in need of disaster relief.
  • At least 20 people have been confirmed dead.
  • President Trump arrived in Texas Tuesday. On Thursday, the White House said he will pledge $1 million of personal funds to relief efforts.
  • Rainfall totaled 51.88" in Cedar Bayou, breaking rainfall records in the continental U.S.
  • 31 people are confirmed dead.

Devastating flooding is causing big trouble for the fourth largest city in the U.S.

The city of Houston faces "catastrophic and life-threatening" flooding after Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday.

This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced. Follow orders from officials to ensure safety. #Harvey

Posted by U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) on Sunday, August 27, 2017

The head of FEMA has declared the hurricane a "landmark event," stating that the agency will be in some affected areas "for years."

President Donald Trump expressed confidence in the storm response.

SEE MORE: Catastrophic flooding in southern Texas

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner defended his decision not to ask residents to evacuate before Tropical Storm Harvey released heavy rains across the city, saying there was no way to know which neighborhoods would be worst hit. He asked people to avoid driving if possible.

Houston officials say emergency responders have rescued more than 13,000 people as the waters rose.

SEE MORE: Houston cab driver finds hawk in car taking refuge from storm

The U.S. Coast Guard has reportedly received hundreds of search and rescue requests in the area within hours. They say they have five helicopters working in the area, and they called for 11 more from New Orleans.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says boats and helicopters are being deployed to help with search and rescue missions there. He says 3,000 national and state guard members were activated. Along with the guard, he says 500 vehicles and 14 aircraft have been put into service.

Around 5,000 people with the federal government are reportedly helping with "mass care missions," doing search and rescue missions and helping restore power.

SEE MORE: City of Austin vows to try to keep power on for 'Game of Thrones' finale

Officials say 911 is at capacity, and they are asking those affected by flooding to only call if they are in imminent danger.

They say those trapped by flooding should make their way on top of their homes, avoiding attics.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office has called for those with high-water boats and vehicles to assist with rescues.

People began arriving at the George Brown Convention Center, which has been opened as a shelter for people fleeing flooding, Sunday.

A levee protecting a neighborhood south of Houston was breached Tuesday, but it was later fortified.

Both Houston airports closed. Limited flight operations resumed Wednesday.

Homes near the Arkmea plant in Crosby have been evacuation for risk of explosion.

A Houston curfew is in effect from midnight to 5 a.m.

At least 31 people have died in southeastern Texas as Harvey continues to dump rain there.

Update on Harvey and the catastrophic flooding in Houston Continued updates on www.fox23.com

Posted by FOX23 Chief Meteorologist James Aydelott on Sunday, August 27, 2017

Harris County Flood Control District officials said at one point rain was falling at a rate of more than 4 inches per hour, causing floodwaters to exceed levels seen in recent years.

The National Weather Service says 51.88 inches of rainfall in Cedar Bayou broke the continental U.S. record.

SEE MORE: Tulsa Salvation Army to help with Texas hurricane relief

Harvey, the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years, made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Friday. It was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

Whether you want to help on the ground or prefer to donate online, there are many ways to assist those in need after Hurricane Harvey.

Anyone in the area needing a place to stay can contact the Red Cross.

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