Trump declares Hurricane Harvey a 'major disaster'

The president has signed a disaster declaration to provide immediate federal relief.
30:14 | 08/26/17

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Transcript for Trump declares Hurricane Harvey a 'major disaster'
Actor Ken dove losing in the city Houston right now as ginger is explaining before. Houston is now and would and it looks like will increasingly be on the dirty side of this storm meaning. Well it won't get hit by the eye of the storm. He will get hit with a lot of water potentially life threatening and damage for that property damaging flooding. Victor what is the city done to repair what is it like there right now. Wolves in right now it is just rained all through the night that is likely going to be the case. Throughout the day throughout the weekend and as ginger mentioned throughout the rest of next week for right now the message. From the mayor of Houston. Do not evacuate about the opposite telling his residence. In 2005 reasons being so many people. Tried to flee the city at the exact same time they caused deadly gridlock we're talking about 100 people. Who died as a result of accidents medical emergencies fires more people died while trying to evacuate. And from the hurricane itself sort trying to avoid that here in this area but the big concern is of course. Flooding for the people who were here in 2001 would fall before Collison hit. They're remembered very well more than three feet of rain fell in some spots could have very short period of time just devastating. Between tens of thousands of homes destroyed 23 people died roadways like 59 south were sitting right next to you. Fluttered as well and since then the city has spent nearly one billion dollars to shore up those volumes to make sure that they do not overflow like they did. In 2001. Right now stand meaning Houston bracing for some. Heavy rains and hurricane harbor. Creek Europe and Houston heading into careless few days victory thank you. It's up 531 on the east because if you just joining us we want to reset and devious sense of what we're doing right now we're covering the big breaking news right now hurricane Harvey. Hitting the state of Texas heart it is right now a category two storm it came ashore. As a category four at around 1030 local last night the damage. Already extensive although we're told the sun has not come up we don't get a racket be able to get a full sense of the damage yet. But landfall is just the beginning with this storm because of the winds in the storm surge as horrible as they are it is going to be the fact that this storm is likely to be stuck in place. He in this neck of the woods for days and days dumping inches and inches of rain. Leading to a lot of flooding that is what has people like our chief meteorologist ginger zee deeply concerned should give us a sense of where things. And from your granite point right now. It does you just set at maxis stained winds 100 miles per hour still in this thing is inland and so this is still aid ferry it dangerous hurricane just because it already made landfall. This is not falling apart super quickly I want to read just a couple of the really urgent things that came in as it was making landfall last night peak wind gusts of the 132 miles per hour. You had roofs being ripped off shelters and different places collapsing you had obviously treason roadways filled. I prints out whenever these types of things happen all of these. Reports the storm reports. We could not be that we would waste too much paper these were coming in so fast and furious from all of these towns on an especially in that northeast quadrant. And this morning that storm is still blowing through without those 100 mile per hour winds tornado warnings that are still making their way on the map. There is that's a sense of OK hit but I do not want people to let up I want them to know that that I and has leased zoom in a little bit closer. I've been in a couple of hurricane eyes I've had the opportunity to do that. It is not a fun place to be on that eye wall that's where the strongest winds are. He's still have that happening right there dance circle where some of the heaviest winds are happening but inside that I. It it's quiet. You had a sense of home in and then you still get the backside of the storm especially the coastline like that's you can still have see where those. Bands are coming on shore still in Rockport still in that area that got hit so hard. Some of those in Linton those islands port Porter ranch says. That's where you're starting to see the wind even pick up again on a ABC meteorologist chief meteorologist rob Marciano has been all through the night. Battering those heavy winds and that's stinging rain and we want to check in with him again to see how that's going to rob. Right ending headache pain. And I know the eye wall is no picnic either use the front side of the bags and but I wouldn't mind me in the eye right now across America hear the birds Durbin. We're pregnant well I'm isn't wouldn't have been absolutely relentless and I know that the overall strength that it has around the I didn't didn't we get a candidate now on lamb Paul flooded the consistency. On this way and that is really doing a number five southeast Texas right now. We'll Winfield is uniform. Especially on the northeast that if you mentioned it is it is it's hammering that was just in the water I just took them into the ground. Around the side of the building. It's didn't learn from. We'll look at Matagorda day. Around us that we are still surrounded by water and of course it's always Lorraine that's coming now obviously that's coming down sideways. Piling up and trying to drain of the Gulf of Mexico city's storm surge that wants the next naturally go back and get it. You guys playing well yeah. And no end that continues little cold and we'll let water right up against the land so. I'm I don't believe I would have ever experienced. A situation right now where this storm surge is sold. That's a long duration. At least a provision that weren't here with a vain and shallow exited the need to keep that no water up and up against. I'd now like four LaMont got. The great majority if there is about 100% of this down. I don't lower elevations as this sounds bad evacuated and here they knew the wondering what the post. At Rockport Fulton thank god that I last night catapult it goes to ride out the storm and is located in those low life Jason. Not as well bill locations. We'll have driving Friday night and snow Friday morning it is not for those folks down there is the real bad guys. And around the longevity of the winds and like that you said that because there's still going and it almost acts like a washing machine. Where you have it's going to get things cleaned it's going to take care it's it's the wind does not stop last night they put up. An extreme wind warning for that region at your end. Announced for a 115 mile per hour winds for three hours so is the consistency right rob that you've been standing and and in all night that really starts to do with the significant damage it weakens some of the structure as it -- things off. Exactly that it conducted physically talented obviously but I know and now rightfully will stand out here. Hours and hours on. We all get paid break Italy's. I right now I'd founded. Let's take a couple of them. I can barely. I think what I think it's not here though you when you talk. I'm went on it and visibility didn't do it didn't even have a whole lot of sense to us stand up and hurricane force who heads. And the event live a long duration consistency and is why not everything good about beating up on the body but. On the structure that you've had prepared that is where there's capacity although a lot of the weaker ones. Those are the ones are really taking immediate you hear it throughout the night. Apartment buildings coming home front there's the roar of the win put my client in the grip of infrastructure. That is literally being torn out. Around here it's its bid on Friday evening Iraq rob I'm gonna ask you what what you imagine mean obviously it's still dark hair and you're in a somewhat protected area to be able to be talking to us right now. But I was I was wondering with what you've heard and probably the few things you've seen flying around. What you think you'll wake up to or what people will wake up to win the sunlight actually hits and you can really survey the damage. Quite honestly I'm. And I'm fearful of what we're gonna. Bernard hurricane arena when has long been historic. At night. You probably think about it what what's happening eradicated and CNN. When the sun comes on the dynamic you're able to gone against Obama and new tennis and bird and obviously what happened. Meantime look fell eyewitness Baghdad. There warlock actually own that are exposed parts of his hand. I'm feathers out. I'm important Candiotti this storm finally rewarded do you. Chargers better than they leave. Category four storm that's coming on its. Redeployment from Poland and the answer Gloria three right now. Hard vornado you're not everybody large. That's coming on shore so the wind event. Plans call there's not absolutely monster isn't going to look at Henderson went yeah I'm coming up. Winds die down we go hug around a bit of folks are going to be an. Overweight and not months later. There rather keep talking about the 12 punch here is the wind which you've just spoken about so eloquently but also as you mentioned earlier the water. This sustained storm surge these high. High waves that are hitting repeatedly. The coastline right now and then on top of that days and days of rain. There's so what he did in and import look Boko what has been done to protect against this flooding in what is the forecast. Four when people get back in their homes given begin invasion we're looking at right now and four days to come. Well. Today donated organ damage to a school buses and they got bailout. It's no losses and I think that's a lot and I've been the main reason why they didn't know that we all his elbow its immaculate as he goes out we drove around hasn't. It's home dance and not us home. One of Mercury's surface without NF pickup truck but I didn't see one resident out the resultant. There there are outside and down there and and joggers well beyond the song while would president Hamlet. When they come back there's gonna love and families at government buildings all we'll come back I would imagine it's not going to be. You have multiple Asian. There on the way it's good that support system. And drainage system thanks man trained and better underground infrastructure. That all of a sudden now. I think I'm damage Levy comes and says. And you're boiling water and and Martha more aggressive and that's an issue that. It takes a while to recover from solid ideas that matter the rain stopped wins. This forms are demanding the land everybody walked back. Please help. After a major hurricane comes through especially along the coastline. Yeah start likely out there is debris and it's unsanitary. It's a and unhealthy and lots of good enough. Process and everything we take for granted our everyday life. Those the year. And is in severe jeopardy situation like this rob Marciano please. Take a moment instead of inside your relatives say please please thank you very much for your reporting things properly in a moment I wanna get ABC's neck Gothenburg firstly ask you to your we talk a lot about storm surge that is something of a term of art meteorological. Can you just explain in very simple language what is storm surge and how much damage is it creating right now as we speak. So pressure changes within a hurricane might CC pressure drop and then that's the basically the water on the front end of a storm. Rises it actually in the ocean rises up films are bigger waves bigger waves figured just ate like a bubble of water off ahead of it so Stuart says. Perched in a bathtub very hard and you would create your own. I don't wanna say it's not exist nothing like back as it's much slower and much more in a bubble I can't explain that as well but. It pushes toward the land and then it keeps pushing so that piled up water. Is in front of this hurricane. Four days and it is now. Rushing on to land because unlike most hurricanes which. He hit and then just keep moving inland movement this one can't. Because it's blocked by high pressure to the north so we just get that storm surge over and over and over. This morning we are and it will keep going is even through later this afternoon and then we'll start to see OK it's moved inland enough but then as we talked about it makes that turn. And it tries to come back and so now we're turning of people that were on the southwest side are not going to be on the northeast side and it's gonna turn north again. Toward Houston in so that track is sell. Different Wilma did something like this and the last time we had a category four in the United States was Charlie in 2004. And I have to say the science has changed so much even since then but what's interesting and just if I can show you this. We had satellite when Texas hat but last category for which was Karla Wright in 1961. This is the type of image and I think we have it ready. This is the type of image that we receipt it was very rudimentary it is one of the first satellites and believed in hands or has this upstairs wanna see it really quickly. That that image of the satellite is so old and still you know. It so difficult to tell anything so we had very little way to say hey this is what's coming we know exactly speeds we know exact storm surge. And now today we have something called goes sixteen it's very advanced and we'll have images of both of those in just a bit. What we're seeing a mystery right now just our viewers know live images coming out of our affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas which is. Another city getting hit hard by Harvey right now let's take a quick listen. No audio sorry for that. But speaking of Corpus Christi would we do have ABC's Matt Gutman standing by in that city which is as we said. Also being pummeled by heart and Harvey a historic storm that came ashore as a category four is now a category two in creating. At this point untold damage Mack avenue we had it would. Yeah again you have me you know one of the places that has been posting an image. And you know where we have the greatest concern right now with rob port now we mentioned earlier in the broadcast we drove off there's about thirty miles away from where we are wide open. Shore not just standing there are. It's going to be a problem for rescuers because there isn't very flat low lying area all of that easily going to be. What they're simply nowhere for the water to go. This entire college I'm pretty easily be similar devices that we'll put storms are you guys have been talking about its own line. That is a major concern and overnight we started hearing these cataclysmic importance. City officials there apparently there are significant damage. Ford announced the high school and a senior center of the roof collapse there all of this stuff is trickling out there have been reports that. All I'm nobody's trying to get to those people but again we showed you the debris in the roadway is everywhere here. Very hard to navigate these places and that's really the concern didn't. We're gonna say what the light comes up and and I guess in many ways not a do officials here. But you'll rock what was right in the bull's eye of that storm and it. Directly over attacking those 130 plus mile per hour winds and hot and again if there's any place at a vacant and that was probably won awards. Lowell. Nowhere for the water to go. The buildings you know I think that we're not talking about major concrete structures lots of much smaller houses things like that a population of about 8700 people still grave concern for those seaside towns included Marla Boko where. Where rob is right out of these places. Just got ham and and there are still getting hammered. As we speak and I can't we won't know the full extent of the damage until the light comes up and possibly even later. And it's going to be hard to get and often held to these people quickly enough. Hopefully. Nobody has been seriously and are. My knees collapsed roofs and buildings mom. Incidentally I mean it's been so bad again. Rock board that they actually moved people into the jail in order to ensure that their deal to protect them. And Matt let me ask you this because you're talking about just in we first checked in with you there was debris. All over the roadway where you are I'd tell us also own about what it was like when the winds were whipping what you heard. What what the intense moments were like as you weather the storm. You know one other thing is it rob describe sort of leaning against the wind obviously there's the impact of the way in the one other things that struck me. It was the Saladin and you know you you. You take you see how hard can it make you feel let me know and I experience there is don't. All of the window of the law humble. What sounded very eerie lightning thunder and and then all of these things are exploding around you that as I mentioned earlier that. Plexiglass panels from the hotel room hopping off payment shattering when it hit the ground. Things like this I don't know what this thing is but you know spirit on the ground rating mettle against concrete. Matter of stress times is blowing by you trashed hands fumbling away from. Is different sounds and it's pitch black if Ashley soon what's going on around you just know that. Stuff that's flying things are very many lives puddle Bronson and that's why it's so scary I'm. Everything is not backing down and really hammered into the ground and somethings are like on the close stoplights downstream and we'll show you a little bit later. It basically going to come along and those that. Uncertainty of what is gonna happen and again. This is why authorities wound missed part of Texas along the Gulf Coast and telling people don't go anywhere do not getting your car. Okay hard but if you got a flat tire to flat tires and fuel artist done at the water starts arising he could be in serious jeopardy. Those are the major. Yet the threat is certainly far far from over where you are and Bratton. Much of Texas Mack gotten thank you so much ginger you're shaking your last night that percent last night I was watching some of the feeds from Storm Chasers and one of the Storm Chasers a renowned. Was a National Geographic photographer. Was tweeting saying I'm stuff I've gotten an accident I am in this place and now. There's no one to help you and that's the concern is that if people go out and do this even now. Because the threat is not over the winds are not over this certainly the rain and the flooding concern as an over. Getting in your car for the next 48 hours in a lot of parts of southeast Texas as my biggest concern for people. Is that they're going to drive into water where they're going to have some sort of accident just as Matt said. And that's where events he wore a loss of life and property. An IQB keep saying for people in Houston or Austin because we have and I happen tracking have to see this the computer models how much rain falls and the timing of it. Of when this goes through big cities like Austin. It's not over and it certainly it's not just the wind and right I mean you don't let that fool you don't let that parts will you because we're gonna keep seeing and we decide fall again but that it's moving very slowly now northwest at six miles are we just got the update for the 6 AM. And this is all happening as we speak but I don't know if we can go to it after we see and this is the reason we're seeing up to 35 inches. I believe we have that graphic that can show light's timing. That moves us through not just from. Right now where we're still a category two a watch that's. The rain just sticks around the entire time in those bands of rain have affected at that point Houston and Austin that's why so many folks are in a flash flood watch. That are so far inland because the warning there is still for up to twenty inches and this there's a rain danger that we're uptight about a day or two retired and up to a week tracked. And so that's where we say okay now we have. Yes we know the imminent threat of today. But then I think it's Saturday night tonight. Through Sunday that 24 hour stretch that's going to be really pertinent. That's where we're gonna see people say and feel little deviated and they're not going to even now I must of got a radar and a hand in their pocket lake Wheeler still. That they had the rain is right there and it's come because when fans come whipping around her act. And so then they're gonna drive an exam to go out for my Saturday night. And then we're gonna see water rescues and tomorrow morning that we'll end up being the story so that's the concern is just. I think it's easy to in the east Texas jubilation as you state Clinton most of the time you're gonna be all right as far as the the next 24 hours after this. If you the evacuated as many people have been told. Strenuously to do. Give it to illustrate how Long Will it take for some of these people to be able to return home and rob said this but it depends on the officials it depends on when they feel that the streets are comfortable. When I was in sandy when I was in Katrina Katrina for shore it was a mine field. At I didn't want to walk around they're what every step you took there was glass there where. The leader entire hers the Walgreens had blown up and so there would just prescriptions and and things that were dangerous on top of course the power lines that are still live in some cases. It's that takes at least twelve hours start getting cleaned up if that's as bad as the damage of a category four can do and what I'm imagining we'll see in the light comes up. They're gonna need to bulldozers and that before people get there it could be a good to a tent. Five days depending on some of these especially the port the port house. Where they got some of the hat dias went where we are seeing some these gusts of a 132. Structures don't do up united and days not weeks or months. To get back to normal. Months but for as far as. Area shore and and we don't want to understate the human toll in all of this but there's always going to be an economic tool and this. Area is the heart of our nation's gasoline and energy. Country so if you look at this area 45%. Of our refining capacity comes from the Gulf of Mexico 13 of that. Is located directly in the storm's path so whether you live in this area or knots. The impact is going to be felt in the country in terms of gasoline prices which could spike anywhere. From five cents a gallon. 225 cents a gallon in this will really depend on how heavily hit those refineries are it takes weeks for a number of these refineries to get back on board to get back to full capacity and number of them. Have shut down in the wake of the storm in order to protect their employees. But bill was locations. If they get hit hard they take a long time to get back on line. And that gasoline is meant to go out across the country you know you heard from ginger some of that impact that you're gonna see when people come back. Whether it's the gas stations or the refineries the buildings. All of these structures are going to have to get back to normal and there are costs to getting all of these things back to normal. A number of the homes and houses there. Core logic has put out an estimate that it could impact buildings real estate up to two billion dollars. And that's only looking at this from the cost of the winds standpoint that's not even accounting yet. For the flooding so we are looking at a potentially. Incredibly expensive clean up an incredibly expensive recovery and something that's gonna hit everybody in this country whether you live in location or not. How an estimated one to two billion dollars that is just from the wind and storm surge that doesn't even account for the flooding which again. Obviously is going to be a big cost as well we know that after storms like these. A number of people come in BS Sasser is come in the insurance companies come in they take a look at the damage. Just the wind and storm damage one to two billion dollars in property losses from last. ABC's Rebecca Jarvis our chief business and economics correspondent thank you very much. But let's get day it out now to ABC's Mary Bruce who covers congress and the White House where she's at the White House this morning. That Mary as you know this is the first major national disaster faced by are relatively new president seven months in office roughly. Donald. This is no question a major test for the president and he is keeping a very close eye on this storm we know monitoring this. Through the night the president actually spending the weekend up at camp deep it but he has been being reached in recent days by his. See Matt administration an administrator by his national security team we know we will be briefed. Leader today during a teleconference. With members of that team but look the president doesn't have much experience or any governing experience dealing with these kinds of issues the White House has been asked about that directly. They insist that this is actually right at the president's Alley and that he is. Acutely focused on making sure that Americans get all the help they need those who are in the storm's path and we saw overnight. The president going ahead and approving the Texas governor's request to signing that disaster declaration. Which officially makes funds available federal funds available to help with any of the recovery effort whereas the president tweeting he said it unleashes the full force of the government's. We marry as this storm was making landfall the White House made. An enormous amount of news. On at least three fronts. One the president announced that he's going to pardon. I'm in extremely controversial sheriff in Arizona Joseph Arpaio. Who had been held in criminal contempt of court for continuing to. Racially profile Latinos and pull them over and asked for their idea to see if there are here legally also we announced the departure of a controversial aides are bashing cork. And he announced that he had given guidance to the military about bending. Transgender people from serving. And on top of all of that the north Koreans. Made some news by testing some short range missiles so that's a lot to ask you about could walk us through this news. From the White House in the middle of this storm. Dan it has been an incredibly busy and news spilled 24 hours the president Wally is dealing with this. Physical storm is now in the middle of quite a political storm because of these controversial decisions that you you've just mentioned let let's start with sheriff Joseph Arpaio the president. Overnight announcing he. A lot of the did this it immigration debate in this country. He was convicted of criminal contempt for ignoring that judge's order not to detain suspected undocumented immigrants he's been accused of racial profiling. And discrimination out he had not even been sentenced sentenced yet but the president in announcing this pardon did not mention our Ohio's conviction. But said are -- years of admirable service to our nation and called him a worthy candidate for a presidential pardon now as you can imagine the president's critics. Many people disagree with this move and disagree with that assertion including actually the two Republican senators from Arizona Senator John McCain. Coming out overnight at criticizing this move questioning. The president saying no one. He's above the law and of course as you mentioned it comes just a few hours. After the president made that announcement meant about the transgender band going ahead and and signing that long awaited and controversial directed to ban transgender individuals. From joining the military although the president is giving the Defense Secretary. A large amount of latitude here to determine what happens with those who are currently serving in the armed forces and look the president's been getting a lot of push back. Already. From making these announcements for taking these moves right in the middle. Of this hurricane. It's being criticized especially by the democratic leader of the senate Chuck Schumer saying that the president. Using the core of the hurricane he accuses the president using the hurricane as cover when. And speaking of the actual hurricane hurricane Harvey. Has the White House has president shot made any indication that he would would plan as many presidents do in the aftermath of storms like these. To go survey the damage talked to the people most affected. Gaining the White House had suggested that the president will be on the ground will be visiting Texas. Sometime early next week and it's important to point out that the White House is of course acutely aware of not trying to repeat some of the mistakes in the past of course president. Bush came under criticism for for waiting too long to respond for is hesitant response to Hurricane Katrina this White House. Clearly not wanting to repeat those mistakes and the president. At being urged by Republican lawmakers senator Chuck Grassley tweeting at the president urging him to take this hurricane seriously and not repeat some of those mistakes of the past. ABC's mayor Bruce reporting from the White House this morning of course it always is an exquisitely delicate dance for president a moment like this. Because when a president visits a disaster zone it sucks up resources at a time. When those resources are badly needed so this is a tight rope that president crop is gonna have to walk that many presidents before him have also walked. Again ABC's Mary wrist thank you will be back Q many times throughout the course. Of this very busy morning. Many of our viewers at this point will be transitioning over to local news we'll be back with more GMA throughout the rest of the morning for those of you sticking with us. We'll be continuing our coverage right here on ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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