Harvey soaks Louisiana as Houston paralysed by flooding

The storm that first came ashore on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years has killed at least 17 people.

Local residents are evacuated on an air boat operated by volunteers from San Antonio in the Clodine district after Hurricane Harvey caused heavy flooding in Houston, Texas, on 29 August 2017. Picture: AFP

HOUSTON - Tropical Storm Harvey bore down on Louisiana on Wednesday, pouring down more water after setting rainfall records in Texas that caused catastrophic flooding and paralysed the United States (US) energy hub of Houston.

The storm that first came ashore on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years has killed at least 17 people and forced tens of thousands to leave their deluged homes.

Damage has been estimated at tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the costliest US natural disasters.

There is some relief in sight for Houston, the fourth most populous US city, with forecasters saying five days of torrential rain may come to an end as the storm picks up speed and leaves the Gulf of Mexico region later in the day.

Harvey made landfall early Wednesday and was about 32 miles south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. It was expected to bring an additional 3 to 6 inches of rain to an area about 80 miles east of Houston as well as southwestern Louisiana, where some areas have already seen more than 18 inches of rain.

Several hundred people had already been rescued from their homes in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where floodwaters were knee-deep in places, Mayor Nic Hunter told CNN.

“We are a very resilient people down here. We will survive. We will take care of each other down here in Texas and Louisiana,” Hunter said. “But we do need some help from the federal government, these homeowners and these people who have been displaced. That’s going to be our biggest need.”

Harvey is projected to weaken as it moves inland to the northeast, the National Hurricane Center said.

“We aren’t going to be dealing with it for too much longer. It’s going to pick up the pace and get out of here,” said Donald Jones, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.

WATCH: Houston facing more rain as flooding cripples the city