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Heaviest rain in history: Catastrophic scenes in Houston as 200,000 people are forced from their homes by flooding and 10,000 survivors fill convention center to TWICE its capacity after Harvey breaks American rainfall record (55 Pics)

The George R Brown Convention Center (pictured) in downtown Houston, Texas, has a capacity of up to 5,000 people, but Monday night 9,021 people stayed in the center, which was opened as the city's main shelter for flood evacuees. According to Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, there are currently about 20,000 Hurricane Harvey evacuees total in shelters

Though the military has been limited in its ability to help in rescue and recovery efforts because of weather and flooding, Air Force Major General James Witham said up to 30,000 National Guard troops could be called on to help in Texas. Rescue helicopters are pictured landing on the Eastex Freeway in Houston on Tuesday


Floodwaters in Texas continued to rise after five consecutive days of rain that set a new record for rainfall for a tropical system. In Cedar Bayou, Texas, rains reached 51.88inches Tuesday afternoon, the record for Texas and the continental US. Interstate 69 (pictured) is covered by floodwaters in Humble, Texas


There are initial reports that at least 18 people have died from the storm and its aftermath, however, the complete death toll can't be fully counted until after the floodwaters recede. Pictured: people make their way out of a flooded neighborhood in Houston

A home is surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Tuesday in Houston. With its flood defenses strained, the crippled city of Houston anxiously watched dams and levees Tuesday to see if they would hold until the rain stops and meteorologists offered the first reason for hope of a forecast with less than an inch of rain and even a chance for sunshine

As waters continue to rise, public health officials are warning that flooding increases the risk of ills ranging from skin rashes to bacterial and viral infections and mosquito-borne disease. Pictured: A boat navigates through floodwaters in Houston


Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Tuesday the Houston Police Department has rescued more than 3,500 people from flooding and Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said the city fire department had rescued more than 400. Pictured: Interstate 10 is closed due to floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey Tuesday


Lt Mike Hart said Monday that the Coast Guard has been receiving more than 1,000 calls an hour, adding that Monday alone, they rescued more than 3,000 people. Pictured: Interstate 10 in Houston is covered with floodwaters

A boat travels along Interstate 10 as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey cover a portion of the highway Tuesday

Evacuees take shelter from Tropical Storm Harvey in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday


Evacuees line up to apply for FEMA aid at the Convention Center which is housing people from flooded homes after Hurricane Harvey caused heavy flooding in Houston, Texas

Harvey has set what forecasters believe is a new rainfall record for the continental United States, officials said Tuesday


Harvey, swirling for the past few days off Texas and Louisiana has dumped more than 49 inches (124.5 centimeters) of rain on the region


A woman in a wheelchair carries a child on her lap as she arrives at the Convention Center which is housing people from flooded homes after Hurricane Harvey caused heavy flooding in Houston

People walk outside the Houston Convention Center which is housing evacuees from flooded homes after Hurricane Harvey caused heavy flooding


A woman and her child check into the Convention Center on Tuesday

Evacuees line up to apply for FEMA aid at the Convention Center which is housing people from flooded homes


A family prepares to sleep at Houston's Convention Center on Tuesday night

A man sleeps outside the Convention Center on Tuesday. As Houston's main hurricane shelter, the center was overcrowded with more than 9,000 evacuees


Evacuee Teddy Gifford, 90, waits for a medical evaluation with first responder Veronica Garza at the Lakewood Church in Houston Tuesday. Joel Olsteen and his congregation have set up their church as a shelter for evacuees from the flooding by Tropical Storm Harvey


Evacuees wait to be processed into the George R. Brown Convention Center where thousands have taken refuge, in Houston


Volunteers separate donated clothing from a huge pile at the George R. Brown Convention Center. 'I'm so proud how everyone is coming together,' said one woman in her second day of volunteering

People wait to be checked by police before entering a shelter in the George R. Brown Convention Center during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Tuesday


Evacuees fill up cots at the George Brown Convention Center that has been turned into a shelter run by the American Red Cross to house victims of the high water from Hurricane Harvey


People rest at the George R Brown Convention Center that has been set up as a shelter for evacuees escaping the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey


People rest at the Houston convention center that has been set up as a shelter for evacuees escaping the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey Tuesday

As the Houston convention center fills beyond capacity, the city plans on opening up two or three more mega-shelters in the coming days 

Malachia Medrano, 2, sleeps at the George R Brown Convention Center that has been set up as a shelter for evacuees escaping the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey


Homes near the Addicks Reservoir where flood water continues to rise as a result of the overflowing dam 

Homes near the Addicks Reservoir which overflowed on Tuesday, sending more water down towards Houston 


Abandoned cars near the Addicks Reservoir on Tuesday where flood waters continue to rise 

Mark Ocosta and his baby Aubrey Ocosta take shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center after flood waters from Hurricane Harvey inundated the city


People line up for food as others rest at the George R Brown Convention Center


An evacuee is patted down as he is processed into the Houston convention center where people are taking refuge


The evacuation center in Houston, which is overcapacity, has already received more than 9,000 evacuees with more arriving


Volunteers with The American Red Cross register evacuees at the crowded Houston convention center after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain causing widespread flooding


Robert Salgado, 2, sleeps on the floor at the convention center that has been set up as a shelter for evacuees escaping the floodwaters

A police officer carries Jessica Lopez, left, and her brother Avelia Lopez to dry ground as people evacuate a neighborhood that was inundated after water was released from nearby Addicks Reservoir when it reached capacity due to Tropical Storm Harvey on Tuesday

Kathryn Loder of West University separates donated clothing from a huge pile at the George R Brown Convention Center. 'I'm so proud how everyone is coming together,' said Loder in her second day of volunteering

Highways around downtown Houston are empty as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey overflow from the bayous around the city Tuesday


A family is driven out of a flooded neighborhood in Corpus Christi on Tuesday

81-year-old Ramona Bennett is carried by Texas Army National Guardsmen Sergio Esquivel (L) and Ernest Barmore (R) after being evacuated from her home in Pine Forest Village

A man is carried out of flood water in a rubber boat after being rescued by volunteers in Corpus Christi 

Capt Martha Nigrelle of the US Army National Guard enjoys a chicken wing in the flood water while taking a break from saving stranded residents 


Rescue efforts are ongoing in Texas where floods continue to wreak havoc on Houston and where almost 20,000 are taking shelter in refuges 

Cars at a dealership in Houston float are almost entirely submerged in water as the flood levels continue to rise on Tuesday 


An area near the Addicks Reservoir on Tuesday. Homes near the dam will be flooded for months as a result of a controlled release of its water which the US Army Corps of Engineers was forced to carry out on Monday to avoid the dam from failing


A woman is wheeled in to a shelter on a stretcher in Houston after being evacuated from her home on Tuesday 


Erik Peterson and his son Carlos are evacuated on a raft from their home near the Addicks Reservoir 


The few grocery stores which opened were entirely pillaged on Tuesday as panicked residents stocked up in preparation for more disruption 

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