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Houston Faces Worsening Flooding Conditions



Houston, a city in the American state of Texas, will face worsening flooding conditions as Tropical Storm Harvey continues to rain on the city.

On Friday, Harvey, the strongest storm to strike Texas in 50 years, came ashore near Corpus Christi, about 354 km south of Houston. It has since remained around Texas' Gulf Coast.

The storm's rains submerged cars and flooded highways. Schools, airports and office buildings in the fourth largest city in the United States were closed as high waters filled some neighborhoods.

More flooding is expected to come as the storm moves back in the direction of Houston. Weather reports say some areas in Texas could have as much as 1.27 meters of rain from the storm.

Brock Long is the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At a news conference on Monday, he said that more than 30,000 people are expected to be placed temporarily in shelters.

The area immediately surrounding Houston, called the metropolitan area, is home to 6.8 million people. It is also home to many oil refineries in the U.S.

Many have stopped operations, likely for weeks, due to the storm, including Exxon Mobil’s facility in Baytown. It is the United States' second largest refinery.

As of Monday morning, the shut down reduced about 2.4 million barrels of oil, or 13 percent of daily U.S. production.

The outages will limit the availability of U.S. gasoline and other refined products and push prices higher, experts said.

Federal authorities predicted it would take years to repair the damage from Harvey. The rains brought back memories of Tropical Storm Allison, which struck Texas in 2001. It flooded 70,000 homes and caused $9 billion in damage.

Damages are not likely to be as extensive as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed 1,800 people in and around New Orleans. Nor will damages likely be as high as Sandy, which hit New York in 2012. Those storms caused $80 billion and $36 billion in insured losses, respectively, according to Hannover Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies.

I'm Alice Bryant

Ruthy Munoz and Marianna Parraga reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

worsen – v. to make (something) worse or to become worse

administrator – n. a person whose job is to manage a company, school, or other organization

refinery – n. a place where something, like oil, is refined

reinsurance -- n. insuring (something) again so that the insurance is shared by more than one company

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