HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on the aftermath of Harvey (all times local):
Texas state biologists say residents cleaning up their properties as Harvey’s floods recede should watch out for snakes, skunks, raccoons and other wildlife.
John Davis is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s wildlife diversity director. Davis says snakes and other animals may seek shelter in debris piles and people should use common sense during cleanup.
He says displaced wildlife will return to their usual habitats quickly if left alone because “they don’t want to be there, either.”
An alligator specialist at the agency, Jonathan Warner, says people should stay away from alligators in places where they are not normally seen, even though the reptiles are usually wary of humans.
Davis says wildlife populations are fairly resilient and will likely recover, because “these species evolved with hurricanes and floods.”
Officials say they’re preparing the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for the possible arrival of 1,000 Texas residents who are being temporarily housed at shelters in Louisiana.
Dallas city spokeswoman Monica Cordova said Tuesday that Texas emergency management officials have not yet determined where the evacuees will be sent when they arrive in the coming days, but that Dallas is a leading option.
The city has meanwhile closed its other shelters and consolidated the people who fled Harvey’s destruction at the Hutchison center in downtown Dallas.
Cordova says approximately 3,000 evacuees stayed at the center Monday night. It can accommodate 5,000.
Harris County officials say about 96 percent of the 900 county-operated traffic signals are back to normal.
Traffic signal maintenance teams haven’t yet been able to get into a small number of areas, primarily upstream from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in west Houston where releases from the reservoirs swollen by Harvey’s record rains continue to flood some neighborhoods.
Harris County includes most of Houston. And most of the county-operated traffic signals are in unincorporated areas of Harris County.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says about 1,400 inmates who were evacuated from Houston-area prisons affected by flooding are heading back to the lockups.
The Jester 3 and Vance Unit prisons are near Richmond, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Houston and in an area flooded by the Brazos River.
Another 4,500 inmates removed from three other prisons farther south along the Brazos River remain in other prisons in East Texas.
Prison agency spokesman Jason Clark says officials are continuing to assess the flood situation at the Ramsey, Stringfellow and Terrell Units near Rosharon in Brazoria County.
Texas cities are getting some help to keep focusing on reconstruction after Harvey brought floods and damaged homes across the region.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved loans to help keep struggling cities operating after the storms.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the approval on Twitter, saying the loans are critical to providing services in some communities.
It’s an early step in a massive cleanup effort that’s beginning with people leaving emergency shelters.
More than 50,000 people are in government-paid hotels. FEMA officials also are weighing other options, like mobile homes.
The storm is now blamed for at least 60 deaths in 11 counties. Harris County, which is home to Houston and saw the worst flooding during the storm, reports 30 confirmed deaths as of Monday evening.
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