Houston at a Breaking Point, Tx Lawmakers Promise Funding, Dallas Shelters on Hold: Your Wednesday Morning Roundup

Real Estate

Good morning. Here is a look at the top headlines as we start the day.

☁️ D-FW weather: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent for scattered showers. Low: 71 degrees. High: 87 degrees.

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Houston at a breaking point after days of nonstop rain, rescues

The Houston area saw a merciful slowdown in rainfall Tuesday, but the respite came too late for a region battered by Harvey and about to hit a breaking point.

About 9,000 refugees packed into the Houston convention center, nearly double the shelter’s intended capacity. Police and fire officials said they had rescued more than 13,000 people since the storm inundated the city with water. And that number didn’t include the flotilla of volunteers ferrying people to safety.

By nightfall, the mayor of Houston had imposed a curfew to stop looters and ensure public safety.

And: With death toll at 18, posts, tweets spread widely as Harvey missing are sought

And: Anxious about Harvey, Dallas parents track their college students in Houston.

Also: Fifteen boxes containing more than 186,000 diabetes supplies are waiting to be shipped to Houston with no way yet to be received or redistributed in affected areas.

The restrooms were left exposed Sunday in one of the buildings destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport.
Texas lawmakers promise to fight for funding for Harvey victims

After joining President Donald Trump for a briefing on search, rescue, and recovery efforts as tropical storm Harvey continues to wreak havoc on southeast Texas, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, along with U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady, Michael McCaul and Roger Williams, said they will return to Washington to fight for funds to aid the state’s rebuilding, which they said could take years.

“A lot of people are hurting right now,″ McCaul said. “Congress needs to step in and provide that assistance.”

The lawmakers praised Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott for what they said was a well-coordinated and swift response to a tragedy of unprecedented scope. They also heaped praise on the Texans who are coming to the aid of their neighbors across the state, including many who’ve experienced their own tragic losses to the epic wind and rain.

All the Republican lawmakers emphasized that Harvey’s wrath has not ended, and that Texas will remain in need of help for weeks, months and possibly years to come. They vowed to seek funding from Congress to aid in the recovery efforts.

But it may not be as easy for Texas Republicans to seek those funds. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, eight Texas Republicans voted against increasing flood insurance, and 23 voted against emergency funding for victims.

Transportation: About $25 million is now “immediately available” to help Texas repair flood-damaged roads and bridges in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the U.S. Transportation Department announced on Tuesday.

Insurance: With flooding from Hurricane Harvey still wreaking havoc on parts of Southeast Texas, many say Congress is all but certain to extend a federal flood insurance program set to sunset next month.

Evacuees from South Texas arrive at the mega-shelter outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)
Dallas shelters on hold as high water traps Hurricane Harvey evacuees

Dallas braced for a flood of evacuees from Gulf Coast areas ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, but by late Tuesday the flow of people into the city’s downtown mega-shelter was only a trickle of what’s expected.

That’s because many Harvey evacuees can’t head north until the rain subsides and Interstate 45, and other roadways, reopen.

In Houston, 250 buses are on standby to bring people to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, said Rocky Vaz, head of Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management. Mayor Mike Rawlings had said that North Texas was prepared to handle as many as 6,500 evacuees, with most of them coming to Dallas. As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 227 people were staying in the convention center’s 5,000-cot mega-shelter set up in an air-conditioned garage.

And: The same day Hurricane Harvey evacuees were welcomed at a makeshift shelter in downtown Dallas, city officials closed a homeless encampment 2 miles away.

Also: A staff member at the Omni Houston Hotel remained missing Tuesday, days after helping guests evacuate the 378-room hotel.

Photo of the morning
(Tom Fox/Staff Photographer)

John Alvarez, owner of Galveston Coffee Roasters in the historic Strand District, borrowed traffic barriers from a nearby construction site to close off traffic. The wake from trucks was causing water to flood his business. The city of Galveston was flooded from punishing overnight rains from Tropical Storm Harvey which passed by the island on Tuesday.

Around the site

Turnaround: Why manufacturers in Texas are snapping up job seekers.

Funding: Owners of the landmark Highland Park Village shopping center have refinanced the property with one of the country’s biggest pension fund lenders.

Throwback: This cruise line offers a ‘Soviet Flashback’ tour with shots of vodka for breakfast.

Hair-raising: Coy Covington, star of ‘The Tribute Artist’ is a go-to wig creator.

New sponsor: ATTPAC takes on a new corporate sponsor, and Mayor Mike Rawlings calls it ‘a major accomplishment.’

Editorial: Y’all need to slow down before passing judgment on Joel Osteen.

Real estate: After Emmitt Smith’s departure, Dallas’ ESRP adds another ex-Cowboys star to its staff.

Robert O’Neil (left) and Mark Morris, the father of Christina Morris, search for Christina on Aug. 26 in rural Collin County on Saturday. Aug. 30 marks three years since Christina Morris was last seen. The man convicted in her aggravated kidnapping sits in prison awaiting his appeal, but there is still no sign of Christina.

Mark Morris doesn’t like to remember Aug. 30.

“But it’s a day I think about all the time,” said Morris, whose daughter disappeared on that day three years ago. “We still don’t have her home yet.”

The search continues for Christina Morris. She was last seen on a security video as she entered a Plano parking garage with an acquaintance, Enrique Arochi, just before 4 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2014.

Arochi, now 27, is serving a life sentence for the aggravated kidnapping of the Fort Worth woman, but he is fighting to overturn his conviction. During the investigation into Morris’ disappearance, he told police repeatedly that he didn’t know what happened to her.

But Arochi’s conviction didn’t put an end to the search efforts of Morris’ family or the close-knit group known as Team Christina. Several of them still meet early every Saturday to comb the countryside in Collin County in hopes of finding some sign of the woman whom authorities presume dead. They look on roadsides, in creek beds, through fields, anywhere that fits within the parameters of the evidence that came out at trial.

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