Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Port of Houston Remains Closed as Hurricane Harvey Lashes the City  

Freight and Logistics Facilities at a Standstill with Many Homeless as Death Toll Rises

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Shipping News Feature US – With the Port of Houston, along with many other freight and logistics facilities, remaining closed to all traffic at the time of writing Hurricane Harvey has had a huge impact on the southern state of Texas with that city suffering both howling winds and a deluge of water which saw thousands of calls to emergency services which so far have rescued over 1,000 people. There are said to be around a dozen reported fatalities with many left homeless as up to 50 inches of rain fall according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.

As can be seen from our photograph the rescues included a truck driver stranded in rapidly rising waters, caught at the spot another trucker drowned in a previous flood. The semi-trailer was spotted by a local KHOU TV reporter Brandi Smith who, with her cameraman was the only part of that organisation functioning when their offices were abandoned due to the conditions. Noticing someone sitting behind the wheel as the pair reported from a bridge alongside the flooded Beltway 8 in North Houston, she called to the man telling him not to try and swim for it but clamber onto the roof of the vehicle if possible.

Whilst he was debating his fate, Brandi managed to stop a rescue boat being towed by local sheriffs who were then able to launch the craft further upstream. Meanwhile the reporter talked encouragingly to the trapped man, explaining that there would shortly be help arriving. The photograph shows the sheriffs assisting the driver as he scrambled from the window of the truck to safety. You can see the rescue unfold in full here.

It is to be hoped that conditions in Houston will improve over the next 24 hours and that the port will reopen on Wednesday August 30, but shippers should check local websites as the clean-up from the storm will doubtless take weeks if not months in some places. The NHC however, which incidentally quoted that 50 inch figure, are not optimistic stating yesterday there could be ‘2 or 3 days’ of further heavy rain.

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