Hurricane Harvey: Storm leaves trail of destruction in Texas; Donald Trump to visit state on Tuesday

Houston: United States president Donald Trump will visit storm-ravaged Texas on Tuesday, the White House said on Monday, as the administration ramps up its response to the most powerful hurricane to hit America in 13 years.

Hurricane Harvey left a trail of destruction as it swept through Texas on Saturday, pummelling the region with heavy rains and claiming at least 5 lives since making landfall on the Unites States' Gulf Coast.

"We are coordinating logistics with state and local officials, and once details are finalised, we will let you know," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

"We continue to keep all of those affected in our thoughts and prayers," she added.

The president took to Twitter Sunday to indicate he was monitoring Tropical Storm Harvey, which continues to wreak havoc on the Texas Gulf Coast after being downgraded from a hurricane. He praised the "great coordination between all levels of government" and "great talent on the ground".

He also said he will visit Texas "as soon as that trip can be made without causing disruption" to the ongoing emergency response.

Trump continued to closely monitor the situation in Texas and held a video teleconference with top officials from Camp David, where he is spending the weekend. Participants in the call included the Vice-President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff John Kelly.

A car is submerged on a freeway flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, near downtown Houston, Texas. AP

A car is submerged on a freeway flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, near downtown Houston, Texas. AP

"President Trump continued to stress his expectation that all departments and agencies stay fully committed to supporting the governors of Texas and Louisiana, and his number one priority of saving lives," said a read out of the video conference.

"The president and vice-president continue to extend their thoughts and prayers to those affected and recognise the many volunteer and faith-based organisations dedicating time and efforts to helping fellow Americans," it said.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service called the flooding in Texas unprecedented as the State experienced a record breaking 50 inches of rain in parts of Texas.

"The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before. Catastrophic flooding is now underway and expected to continue for days," the service said in a statement.

On Sunday, Trump held a second Cabinet meeting on Hurricane Harvey to shore up response and recovery efforts, according to the White House.

The storm has hammered Texas since Friday, when it first made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.

The federal government has 5,000 people on site in Texas and Louisiana, where the storm continues to bring torrential rains and flooding.

Trump, who spent Sunday morning praising the federal government's response to Harvey in a series of tweets, "continued to stress his expectation that all departments and agencies stay fully committed to supporting the Governors of Texas and Louisiana and his number one priority of saving lives," the statement reads.

Vice-President Pence in a tweet emphasised the White House statement that Trump's top priority is saving lives. He also urged those impacted by the storm to continue to heed the instructions of State and local officials.

On Sunday, Texas governor Greg Abbott heaped praise on the federal government's response to Hurricane Harvey, and Trump convened administration leaders to discuss the recovery from the storm that battered the Texas coast over the weekend.

Their efforts came as it became clear that the situation was bad and could possibly get much worse. Amid dire warnings, Abbott praised the response to the crisis.

The monster storm has claimed 10 lives so far.

The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said recovery efforts would take years.

Updated Date: Aug 28, 2017 06:51 AM

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