A second person was killed on Saturday as Harvey, the most powerful storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years, roared inland, knocking out power to more than 200,000 people and threatening catastrophic flooding.
The second fatality was an elderly woman who was killed as she drove through flooded streets on Houston’s west side on Saturday night, a Houston police officer said.
“It appeared that her vehicle went into high water and she drowned as a result,” said Sergeant Colin Howard of the Houston police department. The victim was not immediately identified.
Authorities have urged residents to stay off the streets of Houston and other southeast Texas cities as rain falling at up to 5 inches per hour flooded roads and major intersections.
On Friday night, a man died in a house fire in the town of Rockport, 48km north of Corpus Christi. Another dozen people in the area suffered injuries like broken bones, another official said.
Harvey slammed into Texas late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 209kmph, making it the strongest storm to hit the state since 1961.
It has since lingered over Houston, dumping amounts of rain that threaten to break the record established nearly 40 years ago when Alvin, Texas, was deluged by 43 inches of rain in 24 hours from July 24-25, 1979.
The storm ripped off roofs, snapped trees, triggered tornadoes and flash floods and cut off power to nearly 230,000 people, mostly in the Houston area, on Saturday night. Houston police officials said officers were evacuating two flooded apartment complexes.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency alert for the area around William P Hobby Airport, and the airport said on Twitter that the arrivals section was flooded.
Oil and gas production was largely halted in the state, prompting price hikes at the pumps.
“There are a number of stranded people on our streets, calling 911, exhausting needed resources. You can help by staying off the streets,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Twitter.