Hurricane Harvey death toll rises as Houston mayor orders people to leave their homes

Two more people have been confirmed dead in Texas in the wake of Storm Harvey, bringing the number of known fatalities to 44, eight days after it made landfall as a hurricane.

The medical examiner in Harris County, Texas, said that a man found floating in Cypress Creek floodwaters was a Harvey-related fatality.

Harris County is home to Houston. The addition to a list kept by the Harris County Institute for Forensic Sciences brings the total deaths in the county to 29.

And the family of an elderly woman found her body partially submerged in water in her flooded home in Port Arthur, Texas.

Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett told TV station KFDM on Saturday that the body of 88-year-old Dorothy Helen Lacobie was in her bedroom.

He said the house had at least two feet of water in it.

The raised death toll came as the mayor of Houston ordered mandatory evacuations for people who have not left their homes in a part of the city that remains flooded.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said about 300 people have stayed behind in western stretches of the city inundated by water that the Army Corp of Engineers has released from reservoirs. The mayor is now ordering those people to leave.

There are 4,700 dwellings in the flooded area, including houses and apartments.

Mr Turner asked residents in the area to leave on Friday, and on Saturday he said those who had stayed behind were endangering themselves and the emergency services.

A representative for CenterPoint Energy said the utility would start cutting power to homes in the area at 7am on Sunday local time.

Forecasters said what is left of Harvey is no longer a flood or heavy rainfall threat.

National Weather Service meteorologist David Roth said the storm system still has rain, but not much more than moderate rain. He said it may still exist as a remnant low pressure system throughout Sunday.

Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25 in Texas, then went back out to sea and lingered off the coast as a tropical storm for days.

The storm brought five straight days of rain totalling close to 52 inches in one location, the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental US.

Meanwhile President Donald Trump made his second visit to the battered region, before returning to Washington on Saturday night.

He visited with members of the emergency services and others in Lake Charles, Louisiana, who helped during Harvey.

He was accompanied by his wife, first lady Melania Trump, and Louisiana's governor, John Bel Edwards.

Mr Trump went to Lake Charles after first visiting Houston, where he visited a shelter and a church where people were picking up food, toiletries and other supplies.


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