The first, Hurricane Harvey, fatality was reported in the coastal city of Rockport, on Saturday, where the person died in a house fire during the storm, Aransas County Judge Burt Mills said.
Shortly after Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 70 mph, Saturday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters that the state had more than 1,000 workers involved in search and rescue operations.
At least a dozen people were injured, Mills said.
Additional fatalities were feared in coastal Rockport, where an estimated 5,000 residents had stayed put for the storm that blasted ashore as a Category 4 around 11 p.m. ET Friday between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said.
Callers to the local emergency dispatch line told of walls and roofs collapsing on people across the city, where an official had warned those who opted to stick out the storm to write their Social Security numbers on their arms for body identification.
“There’s been widespread devastation,” Rockport Mayor Charles Wax told newsmen. He said emergency workers were going house to house to check on residents and assess damage.
“We’ve already taken a severe blow from the storm, but we’re anticipating another one when the flooding comes,” he said.
Harvey wielded the “highest potential to kill the most amounts of people and cause the most amount of damage,” Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had warned.