As we move into the Thursday morning hours, officials are closely monitoring the situation in Crosby after chemicals led to fires at a plant. Meanwhile, the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management is trying to clarify a mandatory evacuation order issued in the middle of the night.

While thousands spent the night at various shelters around the area, rescue operations are continuing following Harvey's devastating impact on Texas.

The death toll officially hit 31 on Wednesday, with 18 of those lives lost in Harris County. That number will likely rise as the medical examiner's officer says they're investigating whether eight more deaths in Harris County were directly a result of the record-breaking storm. Included in that death toll is a family of six who drowned while trying to escape the flooding.

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LINK: Live coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Houston finally got a break on the weather front Wednesday and that's expected to continue into Thursday.

Thursday updates

7:05 a.m.

Eight of the 15 people exposed to a 'non-toxic irritant' from fires at the Arkema plant in Crosby have been released from the hospital, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

6:45 a.m.

Ten Harris County deputies were exposed to a 'non-toxic irritant' after a release of pressure from multiple small containers holding chemicals at the Arkema plant in Crosby.

The incident was first reported by emergency officials as two explosions. Law enforcement later began referring to the situation as containers popping, spewing black smoke, and being on fire.

Assistant Fire Chief Bob Rayall explained in a press briefing that these were expected reactions that would lead to fires burning until the organic peroxide in the containers burned out.

5:50 a.m.

The George R. Brown convention center is reporting drastically lower numbers than previous days. Around 2,600 evacuees are still at that shelter, as of Thursday morning. At its peak there were more than 9,000 people seeking shelter there.

5:30 a.m.

Ten Harris County deputies were exposed to a 'non-toxic irritant' after two reported explosions at the Arkemaplant in Crosby. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted that the group were near the facility when the incident occurred around 2 a.m.

5:30 a.m.

Metrorail will be restarting limited service on major routes Thursday, with frequency every thirty minutes.

4:06 a.m.

The Harris County Sherriff's Office says one of its deputies has been taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes from the explosion at the Arkema chemical plant. Nine others drove themselves to the hospital as a precaution.

3:20 a.m.

Two explosions and black smoke has been reported at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby. The company had previously said that a fire in the next few days was likely because the refrigeration system for some of their chemicals had failed.

2 a.m.

Authorities have confirmed that a car honking sound heard repeatedly on Memorial Drive in West Houston was the result of a mechanical malfunction involving a car in the area. Police had been hearing car honking coming from a flooded area.

1:30 a.m.

The Fort Bend County of Emergency Management has changed a voluntary evacuation to a mandatory evacuation order for several subdivisions in the Barker reservoir area.

Fort Bend County's unincorporated area is under a curfew from 12:00 AM to 6:00AM and officials say it is best not to travel on these roadways until daylight. They are advising residents to make preparations now to remove all persons and pets out of the neighborhoods.

The areas now under mandatory evacuation includes:

CANYON GATE – all sections

CINCO RANCH – following sections: Bayou Park Estates, Cinco Forest, Equestrian Village, Fountain View, Greenway Village, Institutional Core, Southpark Meadow Place, North Lake Village, Plaza Subdivision, West Section 7, Willow Fork

GRAND LAKES – all sections

KELLIWOOD – following sections: Courts, Fairways, Greens, Links, Park, Pointe Terrace


WILLOW FORK – Greens, Section 1

1 a.m.

Rescue crews are searching Memorial on Memorial Drive near Gessner Road in West Houston after police and a KHOU crew heard honking coming from a flooded area. It appeared whoever was honking was trying to communicate with police, who were using a bullhorn to send out messages.

12:55 a.m.

The city of Beaumont's water system has been knocked out by rising floodwaters.

12:05 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard says its Flood Punt Teams rescued more than 940 people in the greater Houston Metro Area on Wednesday. In total, the Coast Guard has rescued more than 4,500 people and more than 113 pets in the area.


The cities of Houston, Missouri City, and Bellaire are among those under a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m.