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Reports: Water supply cut off for entire city of Beaumont, Texas, amid Harvey’s horrific flooding

By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
By Courtney Barrow, AccuWeather staff writer
August 31, 2017, 7:39:07 PM EDT

As of 6:30 p.m. CDT p.m. Thursday, this reports story is no longer being updated. Please click here for the latest live updates on Harvey.

Flooding from Harvey is expected to continue for days following the storm's final landfall in the United States.

Record-breaking rainfall has occurred in parts of Texas, including Beaumont, which has been drenched by more than 40 inches of rain between Aug. 26 and Aug. 29.

Shelters are swelling to capacity as hundreds of thousands of displaced people seek help following the storm. Water damage, mold and disease-ridden water will possibly render parts of Houston inhabitable for weeks and possibly months.

The number of people killed by the storm is also expected to rise as rescuers slowly begin to shift to the recovery phase in impacted areas. So far, Harvey has claimed the lives of at least 36 people.

Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather's founder, president and chairman, stated that Harvey will be "the worst natural disaster in American history."

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4:05 p.m. CDT Thursday: Several tornadoes have touched down in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee with thunderstorms associated with Harvey.

These tornadoes have lead to some damage, including bringing down trees and power lines in Booneville, Mississippi.

Meanwhile, Houston public schools have announced that classes will start on Sept. 11 due to Harvey. This is two weeks later than when school was originally scheduled to begin.

1:52 p.m. CDT Thursday: Major health risks could arise this weekend as temperatures will be in the lower 90s in the Houston area through Saturday. Combined with high humidity levels, it will feel rather uncomfortable, especially for those outside cleaning up after Harvey.

"Temperatures will be in the lower 90s in the Houston area [and] RealFeel® temperatures will be well into the 100s F during the afternoon. Air quality levels, largely due to ozone, will be unhealthy for sensitive groups," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root.

Those conditions could be particularly dangerous for anyone who remains stranded in flooded areas or without power in their homes.

Harvey people

Serenity Vanderziel, left and Shelbee LeJeune walk along the flooded Parish Barn Road in Iowa, La., Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. Tropical Storm Harvey chugged through southwest Louisiana after an early morning landfall Wednesday, weakening but still posing a continued statewide threat of heavy rain, flash floods and tornadoes as it moved to the northeast (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis).

1:35 p.m. CDT Thursday: Port Arthur officials report that the Port Arthur Levee is working and water is starting to slowly recede throughout the city.

Despite the water receding, first responders are still conducting rescue operations.

1:15 p.m. CDT Thursday: Vice President Mike Pence is in Texas touring Harvey storm damage around Rockport this afternoon.

12:42 p.m. CDT Thursday: Road reconstruction continues around Houston. TXDOT officials hope to have a stretch of Highway 69 opened this evening.

FEMA administrator Brock Long said that the number of those who have signed up for disaster assistance has reached over 325,000.

10:43 a.m. CDT Thursday: Floodwaters in the Neches River in Beaumont, Texas, have pushed the river's waters to heights of more than 18 feet.

9:41 a.m. CDT Thursday: The Harris County Sheriff's Office said that the deputies complaining of breathing problems after the chemical incident at the Arkema plant are out of the hospital.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez clarified that the incident, which occurred early Thursday morning, was "not an explosion."

Arkema President Richard Rennard apologized at a press conference Thursday morning for "the impact that this is having on the local community," Fox News reported.

"This isn't a chemical release, it's a fire," Rennard said.

Officials announced a mandatory evacuation zone in Crosby near the Arkema plant.

9:14 a.m. CDT Thursday: The Texas Attorney General has received more than 680 complaints of price gouging for gas and water, according to the Houston Chronicle.

According to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Comsumer Protection Act, price gouging can carry civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation and up to $250,000 per violation for victims over age 65.

8:55 a.m. CDT Thursday: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said no curfew-related arrests or citations have been made in the city for two consecutive days.

7:27 a.m. CDT Thursday: Officials with the city of Beaumont, Texas, said the city has lost its water supply for the city's water system.

Service was lost after rising waters from the Neches River impacted the main pump station.

"We will have to wait until the water levels from this historical flood recede before we can determine the extent of damage and make any needed repairs. There is no way to determine how long this will take at this time," officials said in a statement.

6:54 a.m. CDT Thursday: FEMA Administrator Brock Long said "well over 10,000 people" have been rescued by federal forces alone.

5:51 a.m. CDT Thursday: Officials with the Arkema plant say the smoke inhaled by the 10 deputies is believed to be a non-toxic irritant.

Harvey explosion (AP)

Two men talk with officers at a roadblock less than three miles from the Arkema Inc. chemical plant Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Crosby, Texas. A The Houston-area chemical plant that lost power after Harvey engulfed the area in extensive floods was rocked by multiple explosions early Thursday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

4:45 a.m. CDT Thursday: Two explosions have been reported at the Arkema Chemical Plant. No major injuries have been reported. One deputy was taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office. Nine others went to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

4:30 a.m. CDT Thursday: Beaumont, Texas, has lost its water supply, according to the Associated Press.

Officials said both the city's primary and secondary water sources due to the flooding from Harvey. Rising water on the Neches River and at the Loeb Wells in Hardin County has shut down water pumps for Beaumont. According to the report, the city currently has no source of water.

2:35 a.m. CDT Thursday: Smoke has been spotted coming out of the Akema Chemical Plant in Crosby early Thursday morning. The plant has experienced 40 inches of flooding and has been without electricity for days. Officials say it is likely catch fire and explode within the next few days, despite preparations made ahead of the storm.

The area around the plant, within 1.5 miles, was evacuated Tuesday, and journalists have been moved 2 miles out.

2:15 a.m. CDT Thursday:

1:30 a.m. CDT Thursday: The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management says two more people have died in the flooding. This brings the death toll from Harvey to at least 36.

The county has changed a voluntary evacuation order to a mandatory evacuation order for the Barker Reservoir area community. In a Facebook post, the office says the reservoir has risen to 101.1 feet and imminent flooding is expected.

1:00 a.m. CDT Thursday: The number of power outages in the Houston metropolitan area has dropped drastically. CenterPoint Energy says there are over 53,000 customers without power, a sharp decline from just days ago.

Meanwhile, as the Corpus Christi area continues its recovery, the number of AEP Texas customers without power is around 88,000. Harvey initially hit the region the hardest over the weekend as it made landfall near Rockport on Friday.

11:15 p.m. CDT Wednesday: Reports of flash flooding are still flowing in from Texas. The Texas DOT says that several more rural roadways are closed due to high water in Shelby and Angelina counties.

10 p.m. CDT Wednesday: The AP is reporting that six more deaths have been confirmed in Harris County, while the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management says three more people have died. Combined, this brings the death toll from Harvey to at least 34.

8:35 p.m. CDT Wednesday: The Houston Fire Department is doing a block-by-block search of neighborhoods that were previously unable to be accessed due to flooding.

The process will take one to two week to complete with the first searches set to begin on Thursday morning, the Associated Press reported.

Harvey is currently to blame for at least 25 fatalities, but these searches may cause the death toll to rise.

7:05 p.m. CDT Wednesday: A chemical plant near Houston could catch on fire and explode in the coming days due to flooding from Harvey, and there is little that can be done to stop it.

Arkema Group's plant, located about 20 miles northeast of Houston, has experienced flooding and a loss of power since the weekend and is in danger of a major disaster if conditions persist.

The materials in the plant must be kept cool, but the refrigerators at the plant are out of commission and the backup generators are swamped, NBC reported. If the chemicals get too warm, it could lead to a chemical reaction that would result in a fire or explosion.

People within 1.5 miles of plant have been evacuated.

Harvey has weakened to a tropical depression, but the threat of life-threatening flooding is ongoing.

Heavy rain continues to fall across parts of eastern Texas and western Louisiana with rainfall rates of over one inch an hour in some areas.

5:45 p.m. CDT Wednesday: Although the rain has ended in Houston, Buffalo Bayou at Piney Point Village is projected to remain in major flood stage into next week. This is due to the release of water from reservoirs upstream flowing into the bayou.

This is just one of many rivers across the region that have climbed above-record levels due to rain from Harvey.

flood level wed eve

4:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday: Mandatory evacuations have been issued for areas along the Neches River south of Dam B.

The river, which is located in eastern Texas, is seeing a major influx of water due to rain from Harvey, so outflow from the dam has been increased from 26,000 cubic feet per send to 43,000 cubic feet per second. The outflow rate may be increased again later this week as more water piles up behind the dam.

3:20 p.m. CDT Wednesday: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving emergency fuel waivers for Gulf Coast and East Coast states.

This will help ensure an adequate supply of fuel throughout the South, Southeast and the mid-Atlantic.

"As required by law, EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest," according to an EPA statement. EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and will act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas."

2:53 p.m. CDT Wednesday: After being closed since the weekend, Houston Hobby Airport and George Bush International Airport will resume limited operations at 4 p.m.

Some highways are still not reopened despite waters starting to recede.

2:45 p.m. CDT Wednesday: The Associated Press reports that officials plan to conduct autopsies for 17 people who may have died as a result of Harvey.

2:22 p.m. CDT Wednesday: More than 48,000 homes have so far been impacted by Harvey’s flooding and damage since it first made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25 as a Category 4 hurricane, according to a report released Wednesday by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

About 43,000 of the damaged homes are located in Harris County, Texas, the AP reported.

The Department of Public Safety said the number of damaged buildings is expected to increase as Harvey moves into Louisiana.

1:35 p.m. CDT Wednesday: A nursing home in Port Arthur has been flooded after the heavy downpours that drenched the city.

At least 70 patients are trapped in waist-deep water, KFDM-TV reported.

1:02 p.m. CDT Wednesday: Port Arthur, Texas, Mayor Derrick Freeman shows the flooding that has inundated his home.

Freeman posted on his Facebook page early Wednesday that the entire city of Port Arthur was underwater, but that rescuers would get to everyone that called for help.

Officials have asked for assistance from anyone with access to a boat to help with water rescues.

12:55 p.m. CDT Wednesday: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement alerting members of the public to people impersonating Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.

Imposters are knocking on the doors of Houston residents urging them to evacuate, likely in order to steal items from empty homes, ICE stated.

Evacuees seeking refuge in the Robert A. Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, Texas, were once again displaced after the shelter was flooded, according to NBC News.

The same rain from Harvey that placed much of Houston underwater hit Beaumont and Port Arthur with at least 30 inches of rainfall.

12 p.m. CDT Wednesday: Residents are being urged to evacuate as soon as possible from parts of the Inverness Forest Subdivision in Harris County, Texas, according to the Harris County Flood Control District.

This is due to extremely high and rising levels in Cypress Creek which may cause the Inverness Forest Levee to overtop or breach, officials said.

harvey cleanup

Judy Mellon, left, is helped by her daughter, Beth Kendrick, as she sorts through items damaged by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

10:46 a.m. CDT Wednesday: Mandatory evacuations continue for Inverness Forest, a suburban Houston subdivision, as Harris County flood control officials are concerned that a levee could fail.

Officials worry that a levee failure would exacerbate the Harvey-related flooding, according to the AP.

Spokesman Jeff Lindner said if the weakened section of levee along Cypress Creek in Inverness Forest is breached, water is going to rise “very quickly and very fast, and it is going to be deep.”

10:21 a.m. CDT Wednesday: The Harvey-related death toll has risen to 20 fatalities, according to the Associated Press.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office confirmed that two men drowned on Monday in separate incidents.

A 33-year-old man from Conroe, Texas, was killed after driving his pickup truck past a barricade through standing water. Another man died after attempting to swim across a flooded roadway, according to witnesses.

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