HOUSTON – Rescue teams continued their block-by-block search of tens of thousands of homes in Houston Friday morning in a mission that authorities expect to continue for about two more weeks.
In a coordinated and organized effort, crews were equipped with GPS devices to log the homes checked. Firefighters, police officers, federal employees and volunteers were looking for anyone — dead or alive — who might have been left behind during Harvey's hit
"We don’t think we're going to find any humans, but we’re prepared if we do," said District Chief James Pennington of the Houston Fire Department.
The confirmed death toll stood at 32, but authorities expect it to rise. The fetid floodwaters were a threat to public health. Officials were expecting mosquito populations to explode.
Some 32,000 remained in shelters across Texas. Houston public schools pushed back the start of classes by two weeks.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety the storm destroyed at least 6,800 homes and damaged more than 87,000 homes. Nearly 50,000 sustained minor damage and 37,000 sustained major damage.
About 325,000 sought federal emergency aid. FEMA officials said they have already paid more than $57 million in individual assistance.
AccuWeather reported Thursday Harvey could be one of the worst-ever U.S. natural disasters, as their experts estimate damages will add up to $190 billion. Closures on oil refineries were expected to affect the nation's economy.
The remnants of the now tropical depression pushed deeper inland. It will dump rain in areas of Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky through Friday and will raise the risk of flooding as far north as Kentucky.
Photos show Harvey's impact
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Associated Press writers Frank Bajak and Michael Graczyk in Houston; Nomaan Merchant in Houston; Diana Heidgerd and David Warren in Dallas; Seth Borenstein in Washington; Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas; Tammy Webber in Chicago; and Paul Wiseman in New York contributed to this report.