HurricaneHarveyslams Houston, U.S. on Aug. 26, 2017, destorying trees. (Xinhua/Song Qiong)
HOUSTON, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Saturday Hurricane Harvey has downgraded to a tropical storm after landfall Friday night. Texas coastal areas in south U.S., including Houston, has experienced bands of heavy rain and several tornadoes. There is no casualty report so far.
Although the storm has weakened, forecasters are watching to see if it continues to march up the middle of Texas or whether it will turn to set its sights on Houston and Galveston, the coastal island about 75 km southeast of Houston.
In fear of flooding and tornadoes, several Houston suburb areas have issued mandatory evacuations. Several rivers in Houston suburb are expected to reach their highest measure level since 1960s.
Weather forecast showed there have been than 50 cm of rain in the coastal area of Texas since the landfall of Harvey and another 40 to 50 cm of rain is expected in the coming days.
Xinhua correspondent saw most of the shops, restaurants and gas stations in Houston are open on Saturday as usual, with some shops pile sand bags at the gate.
During a live broadcast briefing, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state agencies will be focused on search and rescue.
Throughout Friday night, some coastal counties experienced power outage, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. But more than 97 percent of Houston's grid still has power, according to CenterPoint's outage map.
The South Texas Project nuclear power plant, which sits 16 km off the coast, made it through the hurricane landfall without having to shut down, said the plant spokesman Buddy Eller.
United Airlines announced Saturday afternoon that it is suspending about 300 flights out of Houston to non-hub airports.