British travellers to Texas and Louisiana have been warned of mandatory evacuations in the face of rising flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey.
The flooding which has crippled Houston is expected to worsen and a record 30 inches of rain has already fallen on the city in the wake of the hurricane, turning roads into rivers.
Similar levels of 15-25 inches of rain are predicted for south-western and central Louisiana, however forecasters have said the total rainfall could nearly double later this week.
Houston’s two main airports are closed, with runways completely flooded, and it has been reported that thousands of homes are without electricity.
British Airways cancelled Houston flights on Sunday and Monday with the closure of George Bush intercontinental airport due to severe flooding and is keeping other services this week under review.
“Given the uncertainty caused by the bad weather, if you are due to travel to or from Houston, Austin or New Orleans with British Airways up to and including August 31st, even if your flight is still shown as operating, you can delay your travel up to and including Wednesday September 13th,” British Airways stated.
Cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico have been forced to change itineraries or cancel departures following closure of the port of Galveston, and four Carnival sailings on three ships from Texas have been cancelled with vessels diverted to New Orleans.
The cruise line said: “Unfortunately, extreme flooding conditions caused by the storm continue to impact the Galveston and greater Houston areas.
“As a result, officials from the Port of Galveston and United States Coast Guard cannot predict, with any certainty, when the port will re-open, but now expect it will remain closed until late this week.”
Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a category-four hurricane late on Friday, bringing flooding described by officials as unprecedented; it was later downgraded to a tropical storm.
More than 3,000 people have been rescued in and around Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US, where about 6.6 million people live in the metropolitan area.
Helicopters have plucked victims from rooftops and at least nine people are reported to have died in incidents related to the storm.
Officials expect half a million disaster victims to seek assistance in Texas and 30,000 people to be housed in emergency shelters.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in an updated travel advisory: “Tropical storm Harvey will continue to affect parts of the southern USA from Texas to Louisiana until 30 August 2017.
“High winds, heavy rain and severe flooding are still expected with the possibility of sporadic tornadoes throughout the region. You should track weather updates and follow the advice of local authorities, including any mandatory evacuations.
“We are aware of the cancellation of flights from major airports in affected areas; check with your airline before travelling into potentially dangerous areas.”
Meanwhile, full refunds for the cancelled cruises are being offered together with a 25% future cruise credit.
What are your thoughts on today’s news? Were you scheduled to be on any of the now cancelled cruises? Have you been following the news on Hurricane Harvey? Do you think cruise lines have taken the necessary precautions? Leave us your comments below…// END - About the Author ?>