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One dead as Hurricane Harvey drenches Texas

Hurricane Harvey rolled over the Texas Gulf Coast on Saturday, leaving one person dead and smashing homes and businesses.

The fiercest hurricane to hit the US in more than a decade came ashore late on Friday about 30 miles north-east of Corpus Christi as a mammoth Category 4 storm with 130mph winds.

It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

But officials are warning that rainfall, which will continue for days, could dump more than one metre of water and inundate many communities, including dangerously flood-prone Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city.

"Our focus is shifting to the extreme and potentially historic levels of flooding that we could see," said Eric Blake, a specialist at the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

A Texas judge confirmed the death in the coastal city of Rockport that was directly in the storm's path,.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Aransas County Judge C H Mills Jr also said 12 to 14 people were injured by Harvey.

A Coast Guard official said helicopters had rescued 18 people from boats and barges that were in distress because of Harvey.

Captain Tony Hahn, commander of the Corpus Christi sector, said two helicopters managed to rescued three people from a fishing boat, four from a barge and 11 from two tugboats.

He said several boats sank in the Port of Corpus Christi.

About 4,500 inmates were also evacuated from three state prisons in Brazoria County south of Houston because the nearby Brazos River is rising from Hurricane Harvey's heavy rain.

The hurricane left nearly 300,000 consumers without power in the coastal region, and nearly half a metre of rain had fallen in some places.

The hurricane posed the first major emergency management test of President Donald Trump's administration. The president signed a federal disaster declaration for coastal counties Friday night.

Mr Trump commended the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his handling of the storm.

In a tweet on Saturday morning addressed to FEMA head Brock Long, Trump said: "You are doing a great job - the world is watching! Be safe."

AP

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