President Donald Trump has pledged to donate $1 million to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, according to a statement from White House adviser Tom Bossert during a press conference Wednesday,
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders could not confirm whether or not this money would come from Trump's personal fortune, or if it would come from the Trump foundation.
Officials in Beaumont, Texas, which lost access to its water supply after its pump station flooded, are evacuating patients from Baptist Hospital in the city.
The White House holds a press briefing amid Harvey rescues.
Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert said during the White House press briefing on Thursday that an estimated 100,000 homes will be affected by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Some of those homes will have flood insurance, but many will not. Bossert encouraged those with insurance to call and make their claims as soon as possible.
Bossert also announced that the Trump administration recognized that a significant amount of damage will have been done to publicly owned infrastructure. He said that the administration would be looking to create an appropriations request it would submit to congress.
When asked about the offers of aid from other nations, Bossert said the administration had neither accepted nor denied such offers. He added that the offers were very vague in nature.
Bossert said Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump feel strongly about price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Bossert said that neither would condone taking advantage of victims of the storm.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for much of Mississippi Thursday as remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey shifted northeast.
Photos and videos posted to social media showed ominous gray clouds over Mississippi and surrounding states.
Meteorologists had posted multiple tornado warnings for the area throughout the day.
According to some, weather conditions left over from Tropical Storm Harvey contributed to the meteorological turbulence.
An Arkema executive on Thursday said that dark smoke coming from its plant in Crosby, Texas after a pair of explosions there is "noxious" and worth seeking medical attention over.
"I don't know the composition of the smoke, but it's noxious, certainly," Rich Rennard said during a press conference. "The smoke is noxious, the toxicity is a relative thing."
"It's not a chemical release that's happening," he added of the fires. "What we have is a fire. Any irritant is going to be an irritant to your eyes, your nose, your skin."
"We encourage people to avoid getting exposed to that. We encourage anyone who is exposed to this smoke to contact their medical doctor."
Rennard also said that Arkema believes more explosions are possible as its Crosby plant due to the refrigeration avaiable for some products on-site.
"My understanding is that we've lost refrigerating capability in eight of the nine," he said. "We believe that the containers are in a remote enough area that we don't anticipate any other damage on site. We anticipate that the products will decompose once they heat up and then burn."
Rennard added that Arkema did not anticipate the aftermath of Thursday's explosions harming local citizens, but noted that the one and a half mile evacuation area around the plant is best adhered to.
"We believe that no one is in danger based on this fire," he said. "We're not going to put anybody in harm's way. We want them to respect the one and a half mile radius."
"We don't want people returning to their homes thinking this is over. It's not over. This is a very serious issue. We can't define specifically how long it will take for all the material to degrade."
A deputy was taken to the hospital and nine others drove themselves there after inhaling fumes from the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
One deputy taken to hospital after inhaling fumes from Archem plant in Crosby. 9 others drove themselves to hospital as precaution.— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) August 31, 2017
Company officials said the smoke inhaled by the deputies is believed to be "a non-toxic irritant."
Industrial chemical manufacturer Arkema S.A. on Thursday said it had received reports of two explosions and black smoke emanating from its plant in Crosby, Texas.
Arkema added that it had implemented its “hurricane preparation plan” at the plant but been “overwhelmed” by flooding from what is now Tropical Depression Harvey.
“At approximately 2 a.m. CDT, we were notified by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of two explosions and black smoke coming from the Arkema Inc. plant in Crosby, Texas,” the company said in a statement.
“As we communicated in recent days, our site followed its hurricane preparation plan in advance of the recent hurricane and we had redundant contingency plans in place,” it continued.
“However, unprecedented flooding overwhelmed our primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we lost critical refrigeration of the products on site.”
Arkema noted that “some of our organic peroxide products burn it not stored at low temperature.”
“We want local residents to be aware that the product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains.”
The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Arkema’s Crosby plant had been evacuated two days before.
Chief Executive Rich Rowe told The Journal Wednesday that a shutdown of “critical refrigeration needed for our materials” made the plant likely to explode.
“The high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it,” he said.
Arkema had previously urged everyone within a mile and a half radius of the Crosby plant to evacuate before Thursday’s events.
The city of Beaumont, Texas, meanwhile, on Thursday announced it had lost its municipal water supply due to flooding it its pump station, according to Fire Rescue Capt. Brad Pennison.
Pennison said that floodwaters related to Harvey had caused the Noches River to surge and subsequently flood the pump station. He talked about the situation in an interview with our affiliate KFDM.
The city said in a statement that it will be without water for three to four hours Thursday until repairs are finished.
Harvey struck the Texas coast last Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and weakened to a tropical depression Thursday.
The storm has resulted in at least 31 confirmed deaths and broke the record for heaviest tropical downpour recorded in the continental U.S. at 52 inches of rain in five straight days.