450,000 could seek Harvey disaster assistance, FEMA chief says - CBS46 News

450,000 could seek Harvey disaster assistance, FEMA chief says

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Jennifer Bryant looks over the debris from her family business destroyed by Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Katy, Texas.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Jennifer Bryant looks over the debris from her family business destroyed by Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Katy, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

(CNN) -- Swollen rivers in east Texas aren't expected to crest until later this week, but federal officials are already predicting Harvey will drive 30,000 people into shelters and spur 450,000 to seek some sort of disaster assistance.

Several locales have already received 2 feet or more of rain, and forecasters say a reprieve won't arrive till week's end at the earliest.

"This is a landmark event for Texas," said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. "Texas has never seen an event like this."

But, Long warned, Harvey presents a dynamic situation, and "every number we put out right now is going to change in 30 minutes."

Harvey will likely surpass 2008's Hurricane Ike and 2001's Tropical Storm Allison, two of the most destructive storms to hit the Gulf coast in recent memory.

Around 13 million people are under flood watches and warnings stretching from Corpus Christi to New Orleans as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey menace the already drenched Texas and Louisiana.

"Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding" continues in southeastern Texas, where bands of storm have been repeatedly pummeling the same areas.

Over the next few days, Tropical Storm Harvey is forecast to head back into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will pick up moisture before moving back over Galveston and into Houston again, CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis says, meaning at least four more days of rain.

The National Weather Service (NWS) warns that flash flood emergencies are in effect for some areas and the rain -- which can be measured by feet rather than inches -- is not letting up.

Up to 25 inches of rain could fall through Friday over the upper Texas coast, while "isolated storm totals may reach 50 inches over the upper Texas coast, including the Houston Galveston metropolitan area," according to the weather service.

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