Blasts rock Texas chemical plant as Harvey weakens

Latest news

    Two explosions were reported at a flooded chemical plant in the US state of Texas on Thursday, as the remnants of tropical storm Harvey moved further east near the Texas-Louisiana line.

    Harvey, which was downgraded to a tropical depression late on Wednesday, killed at least 31 people and drove tens of thousands from their homes since it first slammed onshore as a Category Four hurricane on Friday night.

    Texas reservoirs overflow as Harvey brings rainfall

    The death toll was rising as bodies were found in receding waters.

    Early on Thursday, the Arkema plant in Crosby, which lost power after Harvey engulfed the area in extensive floods, was rocked by two explosions due to lack of refrigeration, according to its operator.

    Fire authorities said that the blasts were small and that some deputies suffered irritated eyes from the smoke, but they emphasised that the materials that caught fire shortly after midnight were not toxic.

    In the largely rural area surrounding the plant, officials said they had gone door-to-door to explain the situation and call on residents to evacuate, but leaving was not mandatory.

    IN PICTURES: Harvey causes havoc in Texas

    The plant was shut down before Harvey made landfall last week, but a crew of 11 had stayed behind. That group was removed and residents living within a 2.4-km radius were told to evacuate on Tuesday after the plant lost power.

    Floodwaters also toppled two oil storage tanks in South Texas, spilling more than 110,000 litres of crude.

    Enki Research put its “best estimate” of Texas storm damage at between $48bn and $75bn [Adrees Latif/Reuters]

    Fort Bend County in Texas ordered a mandatory evacuation on Thursday for areas near the Barker Reservoir, which was threatening to flood. The reservoir is about 32km west of Houston.

    The county did not say how many people the evacuation order would affect.

    Scientists link Harvey to climate change

    Beaumont and Port Arthur cities of Texas worked to evacuate residents after Harvey completed a U-turn in the Gulf of Mexico and rolled ashore early on Wednesday for the second time in six days.

    It hit southwestern Louisiana as a tropical storm with heavy rain and winds of 72kph.

    In Houston, where Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a night-time curfew to aid search efforts and thwart potential looting, the two major airports had reopened on a limited basis, signaling a slow return to normality.

    Houston’s two major airports were up and running again on Wednesday.

    Officials said they were resuming limited bus and light rail service as well as rubbish pick-up.

    READ MORE: Flooding kills family of six as Harvey hits Louisiana

    At the same time, many thousands of Houston-area homes are under water and could stay that way for days or weeks. 

    Officials said 911 centres in the Houston area are getting more than 1,000 calls an hour from people seeking help.

    Heavy downpours were expected to stop on Thursday, though “life-threatening” flooding was to continue in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

    Counting damages

    Harvey’s five straight days of rain totaled about 130cm, the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental US.

    Altogether, more than 1,000 homes in Texas were destroyed and close to 50,000 damaged, and more than 32,000 people were in shelters across the state, emergency officials reported.

    About 10,000 more National Guard troops are being deployed to Texas, bringing the total to 24,000, Governor Greg Abbott said.

    Enki Research put its “best estimate” of Texas storm damage at between $48bn and $75bn.

     More than 1,000 homes in Texas were destroyed and close to 50,000 damaged [Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP]
    View the original article: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/blasts-rock-texas-chemical-plant-harvey-weakens-170831130233326.html

    Source: News agencies

    In the same category are

    IGAD bloc says South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar not welcome Before arriving in Addis Ababa this week, Machar had been under house arrest in South Africa An East Africa regional bloc has said South Sudan oppo...
    Harry Kane leads England into World Cup 2018 knockouts Kane (left) became the third England player to score a hat-trick at the World Cup Harry Kane struck a hat-trick as England marched into the round o...
    A woman’s game: Marta Vieira da Silva People in town used to tell Marta that she wasn't normal because she was the only girl playing in football tournaments. "Of course, I'm not normal," s...
    Jane Goodall: Chimpanzees, humanity and all that binds them Widely seen as the world's leading primatologist and conservationist, Jane Goodall has an unparalleled understanding of chimpanzees. Goodall's study o...
    Why the debt deal with the EU is bad for Greece Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras holds his tie as he speaks at the parliamentary group of Syriza and Independent Greeks in Athens, Greece on June ...
    What the Kremlin did while Russians were watching the World Cup Serbia fan holds up a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin before the Serbia vs Switzerland match at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018 The ...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.