Four children under the age of 16 drowned with their great grandparents in Houston on Sunday after Hurricane Harvey flooded the area, family members told media outlets.
The group was attempting to escape the flooding in a van when flood water overwhelmed the vehicle. The driver, the children’s great uncle, escaped the sinking vehicle by hanging on to a tree limb. Nobody else made it out, however, family members told Houston’s KHOU News.
Though no bodies have been recovered, all six are presumed dead.
Houston police chief Art Acevedo announced Monday that rescuers have saved about 2,000 people from flooding in the city, CBS News reports.
The amount of rainfall that Harvey brought to Houston is the most the area has ever seen in such a short time period. Rainfall totals hit above 20 inches for the entire Houston metro area Sunday, with rainfall in several areas reaching more than 30 inches, the Washington Post reports.
The National Weather Service called the hurricane “unprecedented … beyond anything experienced,” in a Sunday tweet.
The first casualty of Harvey is thought to be in Rockport, about 12 miles from the coastal town of Corpus Christi and one of the first places to be hit. A man died in a burning building during the storm, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Death counts from the storm are expected to climb steadily as rescue workers continue to round up people stranded by the storm.
“We fully expect that as the water recedes that there would be some grim discoveries,” Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jason Spencer told the Houston Chronicle.
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