Unprecedented tropical storm Harvey is still a 'dangerous and historic storm,' according to officials.
"This is a landmark event," Brock Long, administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said during a news briefing Monday morning. "We have not seen an event like this. You could not draw this forecast up. You could not dream this forecast up."
People in the path of the storm were advised to continue to shelter in place if possible, as "catastrophic and life-threatening" flooding continued in southeast Texas and headed east toward Louisiana, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
"The breadth and intensity of this rainfall is beyond anything experienced before," the NWS said in a statement.
The storm was forecast to remain for several more days, drenching parts of the region with a year's worth of rain in the span of a week.
The NWS said the exact path of the storm was uncertain but that peak flooding was expected on Wednesday and Thursday as rivers crested. The agency issued flood watches and warnings from near San Antonio to New Orleans.
With emergency services stretched to the limit, Houston police put out a call on Monday for "anyone with a boat who can volunteer to help."
Long said in addition to search and rescue, the next objective was to "stabilize" disaster survivors. "We're not at recovery yet," Long said. "Right now, this mission is a life-safety, life-sustaining mission."
The controlled water release of two major reservoirs has reportedly started Monday and flooding could be worse in some surrounding areas.
Residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs designed to help prevent flooding in downtown Houston, were warned Sunday that a controlled release from both reservoirs would cause additional street flooding and could spill into homes. Rising water levels and continuing rain was putting pressure on the dams that could cause a failure without the release.
Meanwhile, officials in Fort Bend County, Houston's southwestern suburbs, late Sunday issued widespread mandatory evacuation orders along the Brazos River levee districts. County officials were preparing for the river to reach major flood stages late Sunday. County Judge Robert Herbert said at a news conference that National Weather Service officials were predicting that the water could rise to 59 feet, three feet above 2016 records and what Herbert called an "800-year flood level." Herbert said that amount of water would top the levees and carries a threat of levee failure.
New evacuations were ordered Monday in the nation's fourth-largest city, as rising floodwaters that turned Houston streets into rivers navigable only by boat now threaten dams across the region -- while rescuers pleaded for more boats to reach residents trapped in their homes.
“This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced,” the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted this morning.
Nuclear Worker: “Imminent flood coming” near nuke plant from Hurricane Harvey… “Potentially catastrophic”… Running out of food… Working tirelessly to manage problems… Area turned “upside down” — Nearby river forecast to rise 50 ft and overtop levees, “Major Flood Stage” (VIDEO)