So far, Hurricane Harvey has claimed at least 31 lives. But the death toll is expected to rise this week as flooding subsides and people return home and search for the missing, making the same sorts of grim discoveries as people did in neighboring Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, a dozen years ago, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Houston officials embarked on the house-to-house search Thursday in areas where floodwaters rose 3 feet or more. As they searched, the storm was still causing havoc. But the recovery of the dead was a quieter affair: sorrowful, slow, infused with dread of what still remained to be discovered.
The search Thursday morning began at the Meyerland Plaza mall, where Houston Fire Capt. Mike Robertson and his team of firefighters joined police and search-and-rescue staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
They boarded buses into the heart of the Meyerland neighborhood, and set out with GPS trackers. Their quarry, those who didn't make it out, and also any evidence of broken gas lines that could start a fire.
Homes would not be marked on the door with Xs, the notorious "Katrina Cross" search codes spray-painted by FEMA crews across the front of stricken houses after that deadly storm, because the Xs could attract looters or squatters. Instead, the search crews will use the GPS trackers to record and map what they find.